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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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... a dark zone where the Devil dwelt by himself in bondage... My eyes were dim at first until...
... a dark zone where the Devil dwelt by himself in bondage... My eyes were dim at first until...
 Midway upon the journey of our life/I found myself within a forest dark 
For the straightforward pa...
"Midway upon the journey of our life/I found myself within a forest dark, For the straightforward pathway had been lost." (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto I, Divine Comedy)
I walked past the  vestibule  over the river Acheron into Hell proper
I walked past the "vestibule" over the river Acheron into Hell proper
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.
...Looking over my shoulders repeatedly  expecting to see a hungry lion closing in from behind  stea...
...Looking over my shoulders repeatedly, expecting to see a hungry lion closing in from behind, stealthily, moving into the crouching posture felines assume before a predatory pounce...
....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...
 I cannot well repeat how there I entered  So full was I of slumber at the moment/In which I had aba...
"I cannot well repeat how there I entered, So full was I of slumber at the moment/In which I had abandoned the true way." (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto I, Divine Comedy)
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.
 Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say/What was this forest savage  rough  and stern/Which in the ver...
"Ah me! how hard a thing it is to say/What was this forest savage, rough, and stern/Which in the very thought renews the fear." (Dante, Inferno, Canto I, Divine Comedy).
 [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).
The trees stood guard over me striking various grotesque poses like mighty Angels of Hell watching o...
The trees stood guard over me striking various grotesque poses like mighty Angels of Hell watching over me through evilly hooded eyes
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...
 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)
...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.
...I beat a hasty retreat through the dark gloomy forest...
...I beat a hasty retreat through the dark gloomy forest...
 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).
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.
....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
As I crossed the stream  I felt myself in transition from the outer rings of Hell  into the innermos...
As I crossed the stream, I felt myself in transition from the outer rings of Hell, into the innermost...
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...