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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 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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I became conscious of the fact that I was alone in the woods with a lion somewhere ahead. The lion w...
I became conscious of the fact that I was alone in the woods with a lion somewhere ahead. The lion was supposed to be caged. But could I trust the quality of staff that I met at the gates to keep a hungry lion safely in a cage?
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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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 [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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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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...I perceived  vaguely  the form of the cage in which he was held bondage...
...I perceived, vaguely, the form of the cage in which he was held bondage...
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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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 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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 The Portals of Hell
"The Portals of Hell"
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 Charon the ferryman
"Charon the ferryman"
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 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)
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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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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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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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...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...
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 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).
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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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 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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