Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 67
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Don John's failure as a Cavalier and his hunger for power manifest themselves in his
treatment of his friends, especially Don Octavio. Don John will go so far as to trick and dishonor
his fellow Cavaliers in his efforts to satisfy his own base appetites and desire to maintain power.
In Don Octavio's case, Don John does not want to trick or conquer him because he dislikes him
or feels more worthy than Don Octavio of having a relationship or a casual affair with Maria.
Don John merely wants to "enjoy [Maria]" because "[Octavio] likes her" and because "she's
another Woman" (31). For Don John, women are mere receptacles for him to use for his own
pleasure and men are the obstacles he must overcome to get to the women-as well as additional
individuals he must control so he can continue following the guidance of sense.
Though one could argue that Don John fulfills the Cavalier ideals of friendship in his
meeting the expectations of one of the Aristotelian views of friendship, he falls short of the
requirements of the types of homosocial friendship and schools of thought Aristotle and the
Cavalier strain claim to advocate. Aristotle does not advocate the category of friendship
motivated by attaining pleasure because this form of friendship is based on goals and desires that
are subject to "changing often within a single day" (Aristotle 196). Like Don John, Don Antonio
and Don Lopez even admit to following their own fluctuating, impulsive whims:
D. Ant. Change our natures; Go bid a Blackamore be white, we follow
Our Constitutions, which we did not give our selves.
D. Lop. What we are, We are by Nature, our reason tells us we must
Follow that. (The Libertine 56)
Though they claim not to submit to any authority but their own, self-imposed authority, the
libertines obey Don John as an authority. Instead of following their own impulses and
spontaneous, constantly vacillating desires, they are obeying the desires and whims of a
figurative social institution, Don John. As conventional libertines, then, they fail, and as
Hobbesians they fail in that they recognize nature alone as a viable authority to guide them.
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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/m1/73/?q=rochester: accessed February 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .