Whoever Loved That Loved Not At First Sight
"Whoever loved that loved not at first sight" is a quote from Shakespeare's As You Like It. How far is this statement applicable to some characters in this play?
Phebe, a shepherdess, makes this statement to Silvius in Act III, scene 5 of the play. The statement applies to Phebe herself, as she tells Silvius, who is madly in love with her, "the time was that I hated thee, / And yet it is not that I bear thee love" (III.5.103-104). In other words, she used to hate him, and she still doesn't love him, but she offers him friendship. Instead, Phebe has fallen in love with Rosalind, who is disguised as Ganymede. Phebe never comes to love Silvius, though Rosalind tricks her into marrying Silvius at the end of the play. Phebe did not love Silvius at first sight and is never really in love with him, even though she marries him.
This statement also applies to Rosalind and Orlando. When Orlando first meets Rosalind and she gives him her chain, he is so tongue-tied that he says, "What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue?" (I.2.219-220). He is so smitten with Rosalind that he can't speak, and she returns his feelings. After writing his beloved's name on trees in the forest, he encounters Rosalind, who, disguised as Ganymede, tries to cure him of being in love. He counters that "I would not be cured, youth." (III.2.377). In other words, Orlando says that he does not want to be cured of being in love. After falling in love with Rosalind at first sight, he remains in love with her and they marry.
"Whoever loved that loved not at first sight?" is a line spoken by the shepherdess Phebe when she falls for Rosalind in her disguise as the boy Ganymede. it is actually a line from Christopher Marlowe's Hero and Leander used by Shakespeare to underscore how Phebe feels about love. She thinks that everyone who loves has been a victim of love at first sight and implies that this is as it should be. Of course, as it is in many of Shakespeare's comedies, Phebe is not alone in being instantly smitten. In fact, just about every one of the lovers in As You Like It has fallen in love at first sight.Rosalind herslef falls for Orlando when she sees him wrestling in her uncle's court. Touchstone falls for Audrey the shepherdess just as he sees her. Celia and Orlando's brother Oliver also fall victim to that strange malady. Maybe it's just the atmosphere in the Forest of Arden, but love seems to be everywhere you look.