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take the tide of democracy at the flood Options
lazarius
Posted: Monday, May 25, 2020 3:37:58 AM

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Location: Kotel’niki, Moskovskaya, Russia
https://books.google.ru/books?id=xLU8AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA72&dq=%E2%80%9Cto+take+the+tide+of+democracy+at+the+flood%E2%80%9D

Quote:
In the art of tragedy these developments were faithfully reflected. Aeschylus had been able to take the tide of democracy at the flood.

I don't quite understand this metaphor.

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thar
Posted: Monday, May 25, 2020 5:42:45 AM

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Joined: 7/8/2010
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Edited for clarity
It is making a bit of a pun to two ways 'tide' is used.

1 If there is a tide of something it is sweeping in like a wave, growing and unstoppable.

2 The phrase 'taken at the flood' is about taking advantage of the best point in a changing situation, before it is too late.



The flood means the flood tide - when the tide is coming in and the water level is rising in the harbour. The opposite is the ebb tide.


If you miss that high tide you may have to wait for the next one . You are trapped in the harbour.

It is a metaphor used in a Shakespeare play. So to "take the tide at the flood" is to take advantage, to be in the right place at the right time and to act decisively at that point in time. It is the best chance of being successful.

There was a tide of democracy - the idea was sweeping in, becoming established in more places or more firmly. He caught that trend and used it, took advantage of it.

Shakespeare
Julius Caesar Act IV
Brutus talking to Cassius:

Quote:
We at the height are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

lazarius
Posted: Monday, May 25, 2020 6:00:08 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/27/2016
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Neurons: 867,931
Location: Kotel’niki, Moskovskaya, Russia
thar wrote:
So to take something at the flood is to take advantage, to be in the right place at the right time. It is the best chance of being successful.

Ok! I've twigged it. He took the tide and did it at the most advantageous time - at the flood.

We landlubbers here do not know much about tides. Thank you very much!

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thar
Posted: Monday, May 25, 2020 6:14:01 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
Posts: 22,259
Neurons: 90,283
Yes, an awful lot of English metaphors and idioms are naturally to do with the sea, and quite a few about tides - a tide of something, the tide is turning, going against the tide, tide you over till payday, the ebb and flow of something, etc.
But that one is a specific cultural/literary reference as well..
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