Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 70
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feat- he attempts to dominate supernatural forces. Not only does Don John's ridiculousness
function as a feature of satire rather than as an archetypal hero, but also, libertinism and
Hobbesian philosophy do not mention much less advocate trying to overpower or dominate
nature and the supernatural. Conventional libertinism and Hobbesian philosophy implicitly
endorse obeying sense and nature within the boundaries of social institutions, not outside of
them. In other words, Don John's need for domination extends itself so far that he will risk his
life and choose death over submitting to any authority, social or supernatural.
Shadwell, through Don John and his cohorts, satirizes libertinism, Hobbesian philosophy,
and tragedy as a genre. As a libertine living under the rule of social institutions, Don John
refuses to compromise his own instincts, desires, and needs within the parameters set by
institutional authority. Moreover, this unwillingness to recognize society as an authority
demonstrates blindness on the part of Don John to the ideas advocated in Foucauldian and
Hobbesian philosophy, as well as conventional libertinism. More importantly, Don John and his
friends misinterpret Hobbes via the extreme, anarchic libertinism he advocates for himself and
his fellow libertines to follow. Don John's miscomprehension of Hobbes's "state of nature"-"a
state of chaos in which all human conduct is dominated by self-interest"-not only causes him to
obey his instincts and desires for instant gratification, sexual or otherwise, without adhering to
the legislation enacted by society, but also makes him an anti-Hobbesian (Mintz 32). His
obedience solely to his self-interest without the permission of government or other institutions
does not give him license to act without considering the consequences or the potential effects on
him or the people he uses to meet his needs.
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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/m1/76/?q=rochester: accessed July 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .