Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 63
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without consulting his fellow libertines. Don John uses his friends as accomplices and lackeys
who will unquestioningly obey his orders to help him obtain the pleasure he seeks.
Don John's influence on the Cavaliers, especially Don Antonio, extends to his insatiable
desire to obtain and retain power over others outside of the boundaries of the basic power
structure. Don Antonio yields to Don John's power in that he lacks morals and refuses to submit
to social taboos regarding morality. His actions mirror Don John's in that he will assume certain
behaviors for the sole purpose of exerting power over others. Don Antonio even goes so far as to
"get both [his] Sisters with child" simply because they are "lusty young handsome wenches"
who "pleased [his] appetite" (Libertine 26-27). The fact that he is engaging in incest does not
occur to him or matter to him because Don Antonio's objective, like Don John's, is to establish
power outside of the boundaries of social institutions, and incest qualifies as a socially
unacceptable act in which to engage. If Don Antonio had not impregnated his sisters, his power
would vanish and someone else would dishonor his family (27). He wants to leave the
dishonoring to himself, and by not allowing others access to his sisters, he can establish and
retain his power without losing power over his family to someone else. The only authority to
whom Don Antonio will submit is Don John, and in establishing power through incest, Don
Antonio proves his allegiance to Don John's authority and his choice to live through the
guidance of sense instead of reason. Implicitly, then, Don John's influence over Don Antonio
will prepare him to replace Don John as the alternative authority to the dominant power
However, Don John's need to exert authority over others does not limit itself to fellow
Cavaliers but extends to women and to the defiance and rejection of institutional authority. He is
not bound by any social institutions such as God and religion, nor is he bound by moral
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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/m1/69/?q=rochester: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .