Like all the previous letters in the play, Sir Andrew's letter in this scene is meant to deceive. In this case, the content of the letter is inane and fails to achieve Sir Andrew's purpose of intimidating his opponent. However, the common thread of the intention to mislead is present. To one degree or another, all the messages that have been sent, up to this point, fail to convey the truth. Beginning with Valentine's message from Maria in Act I, scene i, characters use messages to create illusions. In this fi rst instance, Olivia depicts herself in a way that she hopes will inspire sympathy and approval. Later on, the Duke's messages to Olivia exaggerate the depth of his feelings for her, which according to his conversations with Cesario are not as profound as he would have her believe. Later, Olivia sends a ring after Cesario under the pretext that he left it with her. Finally, in the most obvious example of deceptive messages, Maria writes the letter to Malvolio for the express purpose of duping him. Through the motif of misleading letters, Shakespeare reinforces the theme of deceptive appearances that can be found throughout the play. This scene contains several instances of dramatic irony. First, Maria and the audience understand Malvolio's odd behavior and manner of dress, while Olivia is perplexed by it, unaware of the letter. Next, Sir Toby, Fabian, and Maria speak to Malvolio as if he were mad or possessed by devils, and Malvolio does not understand why. Soon after, Viola enters, still successfully disguised as a man. Then, Sir Toby amuses himself by playing Sir Andrew and Viola against one another, while only the audience and Fabian are aware of the full extent of his trickery. Finally, Antonio enters the scene and mistakes Viola, in disguise, for her brother, while all but Viola mistake Antonio for a madman.