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      • Twelfth Night has symbolic objects such as clothes, love letters, money, and jewels. Viola’s boy costume symbolizes her identity change. Viola’s boy costume is her transformation from being an aristocratic woman to being a handsome servant boy named Cesario. Maria’s love letter to Malvolio symbolizes deception.
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  2. Clothes are powerful in Twelfth Night. They can symbolize changes in gender—Viola puts on male clothes to be taken for a male— as well as class distinctions. When Malvolio fantasizes about becoming a nobleman, he imagines the new clothes that he will have.

  3. Hallucination. At different points in the play, characters speak of having hallucinations and compare the feeling of being in love to hallucinating. By connecting love with hallucinations, Shakespeare stresses that love is often based on misperceptions… read analysis of Hallucination.

  4. Darkness becomes a symbol of his supposed insanity, as they tell him that the room is filled with light and his inability to see is a sign of his madness. Malvolio reverses the symbolism. “I say this house is as dark as ignorance, though ignorance were as dark as hell; and I say there was never man thus abused” (IV.ii. 40–42 ).

  5. Explore the different symbols and motifs within William Shakespeare's comedic play, Twelfth Night. Symbols and motifs are key to understanding Twelfth Night as a play and identifying Shakespeare's social and political commentary. Death Although no actual deaths occur in Twelfth Night, death haunts this play throughout.

  6. Twelfth Night Symbols & Motifs Letters and Messages Twelfth Night is filled with letters changing hands among characters, most notably Maria’s letter to Malvolio written in Olivia’s hand. There’s also the letter that Malvolio writes back to Olivia, as well as the letter that Andrew writes to Cesario ordering a duel (which Toby does not deliver).

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