Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 62
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friendships, Don John fails to uphold Cavalier ideals because he does not place homosocial
friendships in higher regard than romantic relationships and casual liaisons with women.
Additionally, he cannot commit himself to another philosophy, in this case, Cavalier friendship,
because to do so would prevent him from maintaining control over others.
Don John's inequitable friendships with his fellow libertines and Cavaliers qualify as
Aristotle's two categories of friendship-the "friendship of utility" and the "friendship of young
people" (Aristotle 216). In the "friendship of utility," men "use each other for their own interests
[because] they always want to get the better of the bargain" (216). Don John's friendships, like
his relationships with women, are based on Aristotle's friendship of "young people" and of
"utility" articulated in Nicomachean Ethics (196). Aristotle describes the friendship of young
people in the following paragraph:
...the friendship of young people seems to aim at pleasure; for they live under the
guidance of emotion, and pursue above all what is pleasant to themselves and what is
immediately before them; but with increasing age their pleasures become different.
This is why they quickly become friends and quickly cease to be so; their friendship
changes with the object that is found pleasant, and such pleasure alters quickly. (196)
Instead of remaining constant and loyal in his male friendships, Don John's role in male
friendships is transient and adheres to the youthful friendships that Aristotle labels as those that
primarily "aims at pleasure" (196). Don John subscribes to this Aristotelian view in that he
"live[s] under the guidance of emotion" and "pursue[s] above all what is pleasant to [himself]
and what is immediately before [him]" (196). Once Don John's pursuit for pleasure changes, he
will discard his friends and replace them with new ones so that he can retain control and continue
fulfilling his desires. As an authority, Don John determines the types of friendships in which he
wants to engage and exercises his right to change the nature of the friendship at his own will and
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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/m1/68/?q=rochester: accessed February 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .