| Quote #7
He threw the sinner down, then wheeled along
Already inhuman by nature, this demon confirms bestiality when his savagery towards the struggling sinner spurs Dante to compare him to a fierce guard dog, a mastiff. His "unleashed" behavior suggests that, like the incontinent sinners, the demon is unable to contain his baser instincts.
| Quote #8
"Mule that I was, the bestial life pleased me
The thief Vanni Fucci admits to his subhuman existence by describing himself as a "beast" living in a horrid "den" of a city. Although he has much to be ashamed of ("mule" here, Mandelbaum suggests, means "bastard" or "illegitimate child," as Fucci was), Vanni Fucci later lashes out at Dante in wrath, cursing him with an ominous prophecy simply out of spite. It seems that he takes a measure of perverted pride in his actions.
| Quote #9
As I kept my eyes fixed upon those sinners,
The thieves’ punishment of being transformed into hideous beasts (like "a serpent with six feet") reflects their lack of respect for boundaries. Because in life, they did not recognize other people’s property as off limits, they are punished with a violation of their own physical boundaries; they must become one another, sticking together and "mix[ing] their colors" like "warm wax." Dante considers the ability to distinguish between one’s property and another’s a purely human one, not recognized by beasts; thus, by failing to respect boundaries, the thieves forfeit their humanity and become beasts, both physically and spiritually.