Both dynamic and static approaches are proposed and investigated for controlling the optical phase of a p-polarized light wave guided through a surface-patterned metallic structure with subwavelength features. For dynamic control, the important role of photo-excited electrons in a slit-embedded atomic system with field-induced transparency (FIT) is discovered within a narrow frequency window for modulating the intensity of focused transmitted light in the near-field region. This is facilitated by electromagnetic coupling to surface plasmons between the two FIT-atom embedded slits. The near-field distribution can be adjusted by employing a symmetric (or asymmetric) slit configuration and by a small (or large) slit separation. In addition, the cross-transmission of a light beam is also predicted as a result of this strong coupling between optical transitions in embedded FIT atoms and surface plasmons. For static control, the role of surface curvature is found for focused transmitted light passing through a Gaussian-shaped metallic microlens embedded with a linear array of slits. A negative light-refraction pattern, which is associated with higher-order diffraction modes, was also found for large angles of incidence in the near-field region. This anomalous negative refraction can be suppressed when higher-order waveguide modes of light leak through a very thin film. In addition, this negative refraction can also be suppressed with a reinforced reflection at the left foothill of a Gaussian-shaped slit array of the forward-propagating surface-plasmon wave at large angles of incidence. A prediction is given of near-field focusing of light with its sharpness dynamically controlled by the frequency of the light in a very narrow window. Moreover, a different scheme based on Green's second integral identity is proposed for overcoming a difficulty in calculating the near-field distribution very close to a metallic surface by means of a finite-difference-time-domain method. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.