Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell Page: 78
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their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition, there is no place for
Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no Culture of the Earth;
no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no Commodious
Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force no
Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society;
and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of
man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short. (Hobbes 62)
Horner, though motivated by self-interest, does not try to demolish the institution of
marriage or other social institutions like Don John, but chooses to operate and satisfy his desires
by defying it and infiltrating it in terms of engaging in sexual and emotional relationships with
the wives. Unbeknownst to his fellow Cavaliers and libertines, Horner is an imperfect Cavalier.
According to Richard Braverman, Horner is a "libertine-parasite" who "interrupts marital
exchange because the institution itself implies a legal limit to the power and potency of the
heroic will" (Braverman 77). Marriage intrudes into homosocial male friendships, and because
of the limitations (to borrow Braverman's term) it places upon masculinist bonding, Horner
deems adopting an alternate identity a solution to the restrictions marriage places upon
friendship. This participation places Horner in a position of power or control in that it offers
Horner both a way to manipulate marriages and friendships with men and women and a way
successfully to gratify his sexual desires. Wycherley criticizes libertinism in that his Horner
engages in homosocial competition, but does not reveal the rules of the game to his competitors,
much less does he tell them they are engaged in a competition with him. This one-sided
competition exemplifies the conflict between Horner's self-interest and his Cavalier ideals.
Horner's eunuch identity allows him to take a more performative approach to his attempt
at masculinist bonding with the husbands than he does with the friendships he initiates with the
wives. When Horner sees Margery Pinchwife at the theater dressed in men's clothing, he treats
her as one would treat a fellow Cavalier. Homer's kissing her while under the impression that
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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/m1/84/?q=rochester: accessed February 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .