Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 23
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investment in her (The Libertine 30-31). Don John murders Don Octavio because he serves as a
barricade to accessing Maria and satisfying his desire for sexual gratification and power.
Libertines, especially such radical ones as Shadwell's Don John (radical in that he wants
to destroy social institutions altogether rather than just defy them like Horner, the protagonist of
The Country Wife) live within a commonwealth rule, but prefer to follow instincts within the
chaotic state of nature than obey laws enacted to govern and temper instincts. Libertines,
including but not limited to Don John and Horner, do not qualify as authentic Hobbesians,
especially in their refusal to acknowledge reason as a viable authority worthy of obedience or as
a way of moderating their adherence to instincts. In fact, many libertines, especially Don John,
refuse to use reason to moderate their blind obedience to instincts. This refusal is anti-Hobbesian
because Hobbes actually recognizes the importance of reason in Leviathan.
Hobbes defines reason as the following:
when we reckon it amongst the Faculties of the mind...nothing but Reckoning (that is,
Adding and Subtracting) of the Consequences of generall names agreed upon, for the
marking and signifying of our thoughts; I say marking them, when we reckon by our
selves; and signifying, when we demonstrate, or approve our reckonings to other men.
Essentially, without reason, whether we consider it in terms of individuals or collectives obeying
it, a citizenry is doomed to live in the state of nature where either no one's rights are protected or
only one person's rights are preserved. When only one person in a government has rights and
freedom, presumably the leader, the rest of the citizens ultimately lose their rights altogether or
find themselves with undue limitations placed upon them and the rights they had become
accustomed to enjoying while living in the state of nature and before their implementation of a
commonwealth and the election of a sovereign.
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Smith, Victoria. Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell, dissertation, May 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc6051/m1/29/?q=rochester: accessed February 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .