THE TIDE OF FORTUNE

julius-caesar

Under your pardon. You must note beside,

That we have tried the utmost of our friends,

Our legions are brim-full, our cause is ripe:

The enemy increaseth every day;

We, at the height, are ready to decline.

There is a tide in the affairs of men,

Which, taken at the flood, leads onto 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.

~~ William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar ~~

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Shakespeare has put these wise words into the mouth of Brutus, to provide steel and certainty of purpose to a doubting Cassius before the penultimate battle, against the vengeful forces of Mark Antony and Octavian at Philippi. Brutus and Cassius are the murderers of Caesar, and have been chased down with their backs against the wall. They can either run further and hope to survive, or, grasp the opportunity of battle presented to them, take the risk in a single throw of the dice. The chance for success is dangled in front of these Liberatores of the Roman Republic, to restore the old traditions and virtues of senatorial Rome, or face dictatorship, at best, by Antony and Octavian; or perpetual rule by the last man standing, after the inevitable civil war, and certain death for themselves. Decisions, decisions. There is a reasonable reluctance to take risks out of self doubt and fear of failure in most people, but most people don`t succeed in fulfilling their dreams and ambitions, and all too often miss those “golden opportunities” which come around but rarely. Brutus is urging Cassius to be unreasonable and incautious one last time, or the dream will remain trapped forever inside the mind of a dead man. When the chance comes, failure is not an option. Shakespeare`s advice is beautiful and wise, and is yet one more example, among endless ones, of how relevant this greatest of all playwrights still is. This grammar school educated boy from a small provincial backwater, stepped out of his comfort zone, and grasped his opportunity to do what he had been born to do, and write words with an elegance and beauty like no other. He rode the tide which led him to fortune and eternal fame.
tattooed-shakespeare-mathew-mcfarren

 

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