Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 31
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committing this act enables him to establish power over his fellow libertines. Before the rape,
Don John's friends decide to "ravish" and Don John expresses his desire to join them in doing
so. He says:
D. John. Now, Gentlemen, you shall see I'll be civil to you, you shall
not ravish alone: indeed I am loathe to meddle with mine old acquaintance, but if my
Man can meet with a Woman I have not lain withall,
I'll keep you company; let her be old or young, ugly or handsome, no
matter. (Libertine 46)
A servant proceeds to bring in "an ugly old Woman who cries out" (46) and Don John sexually
assaults her in front of Don Antonio just so he can exert his authority over him; this public rape
provides Don Antonio with a visual example of the power and authority Don John holds over
him as his and the other libertines' "oracle" (25). Don John assaults women not only because it
affords him instant sexual gratification, but also because doing so not only gives him control
over women, but also empowers him in front of his libertine counterparts and, as Don John
presumably believes, men in general.
In terms of the political tenets Hobbes articulates in Leviathan, Don John hardly qualifies
as a Hobbesian because unlike Hobbes, he prefers obeying his instincts and living in the anarchy
that exists in the state of nature to pledging allegiance to an elected ruler or sovereign as those
who live in civil societies or commonwealths do. Allowing anyone else-a sovereign or a fellow
libertine-would imply an admission on Don John's part to a relinquishing of control and
authority to another man. Obviously, Don John sees himself as an authority and because of this,
will not heed the commands of any existing sovereign within the commonwealth in which he
lives much less accede authority to a fellow libertine or anyone else. He wants to make his own
decisions rather than allow a sovereign to act and make decisions for him on his behalf. Don
John, rather than adhering to Hobbesian philosophy-namely what Hobbes advocates in
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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/m1/37/?q=rochester: accessed November 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .