Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 75
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devotion to them and cannot and will not attempt to engage in extramarital affairs with their
wives. Instead of fulfilling the qualifications of Aristotle's "perfect friendship," Homrner, in his
willingness to follow his self-interest to the detriment of his male friendships, marks him as what
Aristotle dismisses as "friend of utility" (Aristotle 216). A "friendship of utility" involves men
who "use each other for their own interests [because] they always want to get the better of the
bargain," while the "friendship of young people" primarily "aim[s] at pleasure" (216).
According to Aristotle, friends of utility "live under the guidance of emotion, and pursue above
all what is pleasant to themselves and what is immediately before them" (216). Similarly,
Wycherley's Homrner seeks masculinist bonding and competition and devises the eunuch facade
to accommodate his needs for friendship. He needs these homosocial male friendships not only
so he can access the wives (sexually and socially) during his stint as a eunuch, but also because
he wants sexual competitors to whom he can brag about his sexual conquests. Hornier sees
donning this disguise as an opportunity to gratify both his desires to engage with men in
friendship and his sexual desires with his friends' wives.
Hornier's Treatment of Women and Performative Homosociality
Not only does Wycherley's Homrner subvert conventional libertinism in his treatment of
men but in his treatment of women as well. In fact, Homrner initially befriends the women with
disingenuous intentions-that is, he uses their friendship as a way to attain sexual access to them
and to enjoy competition with the husbands who no longer see Homrner as a threat to their
marriages-but ultimately forges genuine friendships with them. Homer's treatment of women
differs from that of his fictional libertine counterpart in Restoration drama, Shadwell's Don John,
in that he does not rape and "ruin" women. In fact, the wives often initiate sexual encounters
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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/m1/81/?q=rochester: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .