Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 27
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In a "civil association," all people are equal regardless of social status. Gabriella Slomp writes,
"In Leviathan Hobbes uses the image of stars and sun to explain the difference between political
equality and social inequality" (28). Those who belong to the lower classes-servants, for
example-deserve equal rights as much as members of the upper classes at least in terms of
political equality (28). Servants must obey the authority of their masters-members of the upper
class and the wealthy-but in terms of civil governments such as commonwealths, both slaves
and masters are equal in the eyes of the sovereign. The reason "Common people" are not
capable of understanding the "principles" and rules set forth by sovereigns is not because the
sovereigns necessarily see them as innately inferior to members of the higher classes and cannot
acquire the ability to understand these rules but because they are born into lower social classes
and thus, do not have similar access to education as members of the upper class (Hobbes 176).
In terms of the audience to whom Hobbes is addressing in Leviathan, he is writing to an
audience he believes to consist of not only those who belong to the upper class but also, and
perhaps especially members of the lower classes who also happen to be the ones needing a
sovereign to govern them the most. The scope of Leviathan is broad and "the net [Hobbes] casts
is meant to extend beyond 'noblemen, and such as may come to have the managing of great and
weighty actions'; it is intended, too, to capture more than intellectuals familiar with Latin, and to
bring in many more fish than are contained in the halls of the universities" (Johnston 89).
Hobbes, then, wants to appeal to an audience of diverse social status and intellect rather than an
audience limited to noblemen. Since politically all people are equal in a commonwealth, it
makes sense that Hobbes would want to appeal to and address a broader audience that includes
the majority of the sovereign's subjects rather than those solely in the upper echelons.
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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/m1/33/?q=rochester: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .