Desperate people, condemned to eternal infernal cruelties, are likened to dogs failing to fight off the tiny tormenting assaults of insects.
‘On either side their hands beat in defence
Now from the flames, now from the burning sand,
As dogs in summer fight the insolence
Of fleas and gnats and gadflies with a grand
And useless dart of snout or sweep of paw.’
Source: Dante,The Divine Comedy (Inferno, Canto 17), trans. Clive James (New York: Liveright Publishing, 2013), p. 82
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