What is the meaning of the following quote from Julius Caesar?: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on the fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in...

What is the meaning of the following quote from Julius Caesar?: "There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on the fortune; Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries."

Expert Answers info

Gracie O'Hara eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write6,821 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

This quotation is from a discussion about military strategy between Brutus and Cassius. In it, Brutus is speaking to advocate attacking Octavian at Philippi. He argues that this would be the ideal time to attack, before Octavian can augment his forces.

The central concept is one known in Greek rhetoric as "kairos," or the ideal time or moment. It is based on the notion that the right words or actions are not enough; they must also be done at the right time.

The notion of a tide is metaphor for such a time. A ship, trying to land, needs to work with a rising tide. Once the tide peaks, it then starts to recede. Brutus is suggesting that this moment is like that of high tide. Once the moment is passed, there will be no equally favorable situation in the future.

This quotation reflects the Stoic philosophy of Brutus which acknowledges the inevitability of laws of nature and sees human success as based on understanding and following those laws. Rather than fighting against the tide, in human or...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 699 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

D. Reynolds eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write9,188 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2011

write5,416 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences



Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial