Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 66
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handsome, no matter" just to prove his authority (Libertine 46). The physical appearances of the
women do not matter, nor do the sexual pleasure or consent of the women. All that concerns
Don John is sexual gratification and, more importantly, his power over the women. Instead of
wanting a fulfilling sexual relationship in which both parties experience sexual gratification, he
prefers rape and considers it "noble and heroick" because in committing rape, he can maintain a
power and dominance that he would otherwise relinquish in a romantic relationship (32). His
bragging about his numerous sexual exploits and his challenge to the men to find a woman with
whom he has not "lain withal" grants him authority over his friends and emphasizes his role as
their "Oracle" and leader (25, 46).
Don John's friendships fit Aristotle's "friendship of utility," especially in terms of the
ways in which he treats men and women, friends, and strangers-as we saw earlier with Don
Octavio and as we will see later with Maria, for example (216). Since Don John is far from
virtuous, it is impossible for him to uphold the ideals of friendship endorsed by the Cavaliers,
much less to embody the Aristotelian ideals of "perfect friendship"-friendship of "men who are
good, and alike in virtue"-the optimal type of friendship (196). His philosophy of allowing
sense to "guide [his] reason" does not coincide with the Cavalier strain of friendship or with
Aristotle's category of "perfect friendship"; his philosophy only coincides with his versions of
libertinism (Aristotle 196, Libertine 26). In order for Don John to uphold the ideals of either
school of thought and become a true Cavalier or a perfect friend he must allow reason and
morality to guide him and embrace conscience and take it seriously instead of rejecting it and
regarding it as a "fond fantastick thing" that "serves for nothing but to make men Cowards"
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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/m1/72/?q=rochester: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .