Guided by the demons, Dante and Virgil witness a grotesque comedy of horrors in the circle of the grafters. They see the souls of the grafters squatting on the shores of the burning river of tar, however when the demons approach, the damned must dive underneath the tar to escape torture by the devils. In one terrifying scene, a soul who was too slow to escape was held in the claws of a demon, about to be ripped apart.
While all this is happening, Dante and Virgil escape from the ever increasing wrath of the devils. This is a canto that combines the terror of Hell with an almost slapstick comedy of the bumbling demons.
Dante and Virgil then slide down a rocky slope and witness a somber scene.