While Dante and Virgil are waiting, three Furies appear on top of the tower, shrieking and ripping themselves with their nails. These are mythological winged creatures of the underworld, with the body of a woman and snakes in their hair, often dripping blood. When they see Dante and Virgil, they call for Medusa, the Gorgon, who turns to stone those who gaze upon her.
Reacting to this, Virgil turns Dante around covering his eyes. Suddenly, a blast is heard, and an angel from Heaven appears driving the demons away and allowing Dante and Virgil to enter into the city of Dis.
After passing through the gate, the travelers see a vast expanse of open burning tombs, with groans of pain and torment issuing from them. They are now in the circle of the Heretics, those who denied God.