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長い首を振り回す小龍の背に調教師がロデオのように飛び乗る中、人々の興奮は最高潮に達しようとしていた

What does ようとする do here? I know that it can mean "try to do something." But "The people's excitement was trying to reach a climax" doesn't seem to make much sense.

Thanks!

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達しようとしていた means "just about to reach" here.

Of course, しようとしていた can also mean "trying to do," but the concept is broader. It is possible to use this even if the subject does not have will to do.

These three sentences below all mean "The stone on the cliff was about to fall." But, they are slightly different.

崖の上の石が落ちそうになっていた。 (It was unstable and it could fall off at any moment.)

崖の上の石が落ちようとしていた。 (It was moving and it would fall in a minute.)

崖の上の石がまさに落ちようとしていた。(It was just before starting to fall.)

The comments are how I feel; other natives may have different feelings.

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