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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...
... 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...
...I beat a hasty retreat through the dark gloomy forest...
...I beat a hasty retreat through the dark gloomy forest...
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.
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...
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...
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.
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
 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)
 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).
Gmelina aborea
Gmelina aborea
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)
 Charon the ferryman
"Charon the ferryman"
...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...
 ...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..."
 The Portals of Hell
"The Portals of Hell"
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 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...
 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)
 O Muses  O high genius  now assist me!/O memory  that didst write down what I saw/Here thy nobility...
"O Muses, O high genius, now assist me!/O memory, that didst write down what I saw/Here thy nobility shall be manifest!" (Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto II, Divine Comedy).