Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 72
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definitions of libertinism, reinterprets and misinterprets Hobbes. His Hobbessian self-interest
and his Cavalier ideals are at odds with each other. In Homrner's case, his interpretations of
Hobbes are particularly apparent in the ways in which he approaches male friendship and the
institution of marriage. In The Country Wife, Wycherley complicates the ideals of libertine
friendship. The conflict resonates in this work in that Wycherley's Horner simultaneously wants
to engage in friendships with his fellow Cavaliers and questions Cavalier views of friendship.
Wycherley's Horner supports and upholds the ideals of friendship more in theory than in
practice, and his siding with the wives of his fellow Cavaliers causes him to fall short of Cavalier
Moreover, Homrner's version of libertinism manifests itself in that he deceives his friends
and risks losing his homosocial male friendships to achieve his self-indulgent goals. Like Don
John in Shadwell's Libertine, Wycherley's Homrner does not treat his fellow Cavaliers as equals.
Though he does not treat them as subjects who must recognize him as their leader the way Don
John treats his friends, he resorts to deception in order to fulfill his sexual desires. That is,
Hornier's need for following his self-interestedness takes precedence over his friendships to the
extent that he is willing to deceive his fellow Cavaliers to the detriment of these friendships.
Hornier's failure at Cavalier friendship and his siding with the female characters throughout the
play satirizes libertinism by showing Hobbesian self-interest and the Cavalier ideal at odds with
Horner as Anti-Cavalier
However, Wycherley complicates standard definitions of libertinism through Horner by
having him fail as a Cavalier. Wycherley's Homer, like Shadwell's Don John, makes promoting
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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/m1/78/?q=rochester: accessed February 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .