After a brief discussion with a heretic pope, Dante and Virgil descend to the edge of an abyss guarded by an enraged Minotaur (part man and part bull). In order to pass by the Minotaur and enter the circle of the violent, Virgil distracts the beast by making it even more crazed with anger.
The two then encounter a river of boiling blood containing the souls of the damned who committed violence against others. The blood of the river engulfs the souls with the same hot rage that they inflicted on others while alive.
As they approach the banks of the boiling river, they are greeted by three Centaurs (the head and trunk of a man on the body of a horse) wielding bows and arrows. It is the Centaurs job to keep the souls of the damned submerged in the boiling blood at the level appropriate to their sins. Virgil then instructs the Centaurs to carry the two travelers across the river.