Robert Hooke’s Micrographia is arguably most famous for revealing to the public just how disgusting a flea is.
The beauty of microscopy is that it creates a new world for the viewer: a world where fleas are no longer tiny specks but hairy, complicated animals you can look in the eye. Hooke had this to say about it:
as for the beauty of it, the Microscope manifests it to be all over adorn’d with a curiously polish’d suit of sable Armour, neatly jointed, and beset with multitudes of sharp pinns, shap’d almost like Porcupine’s Quills, or bright conical Steel-bodkins; the head is on either side beautify’d with a quick and round black eye, behind each of which also appears a small cavity, in which he seems to move to and fro a certain thin film beset with many small transparent hairs, which probably may be his ears; in the forepart of his head, between the two fore-leggs, he has two small long jointed feelers, or rather smellers…
And yet, the point is a scientific one. Despite its tininess, the microscope has revealed this tiny monster to be legible. It still has the basic structure of an animal - it has a head, a body and legs. It is one of us.