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agodi gardens News

Photo Essay: Agodi Gardens — Metaphor of Inferno in Divine Comedy Special

This Digital Journal reporter visited the Agodi Gardens, Parliament Road, Ibadan, recently. The experience was hauntingly reminiscent of Dante Alighieri's "lost in the woods" metaphor in his Inferno, Divine Comedy.
 

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....I walked closer  and there he was seated...a lonesome figure in the heart of Hell...
....I walked closer, and there he was seated...a lonesome figure in the heart of Hell...
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Now was I thrust deep in the heart of the forest  alone  in the ninth circle of Hell...
Now was I thrust deep in the heart of the forest, alone, in the ninth circle of Hell...
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I returned to the gate and found the staff lounging around idly  one picking his teeth in a hillbill...
I returned to the gate and found the staff lounging around idly, one picking his teeth in a hillbilly manner. The manager was preparing to leave. I said nothing. Everything about them told me it would be fruitless exercise to raise questions about the security of their rickety pens. But trouble began when I attempted to snap close-up photos of the Gardens' dilapidated facade.
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 At that point where the valley terminated  Which had with consternation pierced my heart  Upward I ...
"At that point where the valley terminated, Which had with consternation pierced my heart, Upward I looked, and I beheld its shoulders, Vested already with that planet's rays/Which leadeth others right by every road." (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto I, Divine Comedy)
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I came to another stream. This time there wasn t a bridge but a  narrow plank placed rudely across t...
I came to another stream. This time there wasn't a bridge but a narrow plank placed rudely across the stream...
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Magnifera Indica
Magnifera Indica
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...I beat a hasty retreat through the dark gloomy forest...
...I beat a hasty retreat through the dark gloomy forest...
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In traditional folklore  including Yoruba  a stream is a symbol of the boundary between two levels o...
In traditional folklore, including Yoruba, a stream is a symbol of the boundary between two levels of existence in the pilgrimage of a soul. Crossing a stream is symbolic of moving to a new spiritual level, either for good or for bad.
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A lion in the heart of the forest! It reminded me of the passage from Inferno:  But not so much  tha...
A lion in the heart of the forest! It reminded me of the passage from Inferno: "But not so much, that did not give me fear/A lion's aspect which appeared to me/He seemed as if against me he were coming/With head uplifted, and with ravenous hunger/So that it seemed the air was afraid of him." (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto I, Divine Comedy)
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 The Portals of Hell
"The Portals of Hell"
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 So bitter is it  death is little more; But of the good to treat  which there I found  Speak will I ...
"So bitter is it, death is little more; But of the good to treat, which there I found, Speak will I of the other things I saw there." (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto I, Divine Comedy).
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...My instinct was to get away from the place as quickly as possible. I looked around for a tree I c...
...My instinct was to get away from the place as quickly as possible. I looked around for a tree I could shimmy up hastily if by a stroke of fickle chance the lion manages to escape. High smooth-sided trees all round, I would stand no chance against a hungry lion in this environment.
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I walked past the  vestibule  over the river Acheron into Hell proper
I walked past the "vestibule" over the river Acheron into Hell proper
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 Day was departing  and the embrowned air/Released the animals that are on earth/From their fatigues...
"Day was departing, and the embrowned air/Released the animals that are on earth/From their fatigues; and I the only one/Made myself ready to sustain the war/Both of the way and likewise of the woe/Which memory that errs not shall retrace." (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto II, Divine Comedy)
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 ...centre of Hell  where the Devil  in the form of a lion   is held in bondage...
"...centre of Hell, where the Devil, in the form of a lion, is held in bondage..."
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Bats fluttered high above to complete the haunting impression of wandering into a forbidden realm.
Bats fluttered high above to complete the haunting impression of wandering into a forbidden realm.
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 [O Muse] who guidest me/Regard my manhood  if it be sufficient/Ere to the arduous pass thou dost co...
"[O Muse] who guidest me/Regard my manhood, if it be sufficient/Ere to the arduous pass thou dost confide me." (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Cantor II, Divine Comedy).
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....I moved closer  cautiously  now intensely aware we were alone together. The enclosure was old an...
....I moved closer, cautiously, now intensely aware we were alone together. The enclosure was old and rickety. I know that it takes a lot of professional skill and care to maintain an enclosure to hold a restless and powerful canine animal safely. Certainly not the level of professionalism I could ascribe to the indifferent, semi-literate staff I saw at the portals of this half-heartedly managed establishment
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But as I walked deeper into the woods  I became conscious of a nagging fear...
But as I walked deeper into the woods, I became conscious of a nagging fear...
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