In revenge for his ‘puritanical’ attitudes they decide to trick him using a love letter written by Maria, which appears to come from Olivia.
The plotters are eager to accept this out of their dislike for Malvolio and to humiliate him.
Many of the plays deceptions are brought about by liars and lying.
One obvious example of this is the gulling of Malvolio by Sir Toby, Sir Andrew Aguecheek, Fabian and Maria.
The deceptions come in many different guises, including deliberate deception, self-deception and others. Probably the most important and far reaching deception in the play is Viola’s disguise as a man, ‘Cesario’. She first disguises herself for protection in a foreign land, she wishes the sea captain to help her dress as a man so that she can find employment. If Viola had not perpetuated this deception she would not have met Orsino, and similarly Olivia and Sebastian may never have married.
Viola’s disguise is of a high level, relating equally to its important consequences, how obvious and comical it is to the audience, and also that it is complicated and difficult to maintain, as Viola not only has to disguise her sex but also her origins of social class.It is odd that this disguise at first seems unnecessary.Malvolio is locked in a dark room and cannot see Feste.Feste disguises himself in order to fool Malvolio, using the comical elements of literal disguise.As Sir Toby Belch says: “put on this gown and this beard; make him believe thou art Sir Topas the curate” Apart from the immediately obvious deception seen here, this disguise is interesting in a number of ways.There are also hints given that Sir Toby only wants Sir Andrew around for his money; he says, “I have been dear to him, lad, some two thousand strong or so”.This is one of the deepest levels of deception in the play.Shakespeare’s use of the name ‘Topas’ is important, as the semi-precious stone topas was renowned for its ability to cure madness.Members of Shakespeare’s audience may have known this, and would find it humorous related to the fact that Malvolio was said to be mad.They look forward to the enjoyment and comedy this deception will cause: Sir Andrew: “Oh, ’twill be admirable!” Maria: “Sport royal, I warrant you” This shows a great contrast to the complicated and upsetting results, which Viola had realised earlier are a result of her own deception: “Oh time thou must untangle this, not I!