Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 57
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95). The unrepentant libertine, Williams continues, "refused to accept a 'reformed' version of
his social identity that defined manhood within a relatively rigid sphere of characteristics and
social deportment"-characteristics standard libertines also personify within the framework of
society, but to which Shadwell's libertines refuse to conform inside the confines of institutional
Don John embodies characteristics similar to conventional libertinism and the
"unrepentant libertine" Williams identifies, especially in terms of his interactions with his
libertine friends. As a libertine obsessed with power and toppling social institutions, Don John
competes with his friends for the sole purpose of establishing power over them. He cares solely
about self-gratification and refuses to adapt to the boundaries set by institutional authority. What
distinguishes Shadwell's Don John from conventional libertines, however, is his extreme
opposition bordering anarchism that he harbors towards social authority-a defiance that is
implicitly opposite of Foucauldian philosophy in that Foucault argues that rebellion cannot exist
without an authority against which to rebel. Foucault writes:
Where there is power, there is resistance, and yet, or rather consequently, this resistance
is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power. Should it be said that one is
always 'inside' power, there is no 'escaping' it, there is no absolute outside where it is
concerned, because one is subject to the law in any case? Or that, history being the ruse
of reason, power is the ruse of history, always emerging the winner? This would be to
misunderstand the strictly relational character or power relationships. Their existence
depends on a multiplicity of points of resistance: these play the role of adversary, target,
support, or handle in power relations. These points of resistance are present everywhere
in the power network. Hence there is no single locus of great Refusal, no soul of revolt,
source of all rebellions, or pure law of the revolutionary. Instead there is a plurality of
resistances, each of them a special case: resistances that are possible, necessary,
improbable; others that are spontaneous, savage, solitary, concerted, rampant, or violent;
still others that are quick to compromise, interested, or sacrificial; by definition, they can
only exist in the field of power relations. (95-96).
Don John wants not only to challenge institutional authority, but to destroy it. This competition
he engages in with his fellow Cavaliers-a competition that includes, but is not limited to
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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/m1/63/?q=rochester: accessed March 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .