Throughout The Divine Comedy, Dante journeys through the Inferno with his guide Virgil. The great poet uses various characters, which he draws from ancient mythology and Greek stories, throughout his encounters to represent abstract ideas or concepts. In doing so, he also incorporates each of the characters qualities into their duties in Hell. Minos, Cerberus, and the Centaurs are examples of these characters.
In Canto V, as Dante and Virgil descend into the Second Circle of Hell, they encounter the monster Minos, who was once a Cretan King, and was transformed into a monstrous demon. He also judges the sinners and assigns them their torment by wrapping "his tail around himself as many / times as the circles the sinner must go down" (Canto V, line10). .
As they make their way further into the Third Circle of Hell, they encounter yet another mythological beast, Cerberus, the three headed dog, who tries to stop Virgil and Dante from moving on. Virgil calms the beast as he "gathered up earth and then, his two fists full, / He threw the lot down those rapacious throats" (Canto VI, line 25). Cerberus represents gluttony based on the way he eats in addition to his three heads. In addition, as the commentary suggests, Cerberus was "adapted from Virgil's monstrous watchdog of Hades" (516). Yet Dante transforms it into something more horrendous, complete with humanistic characteristics which create a "demonic hybrid with the modified role of guarding only one of the regions of Hell" (516).
In the First Ring of the Seventh Circle of Hell, Dante and Virgil first encounter the Minotaur, a creature who is half man, half bull, is in charge of crimes and violence, and which threatens their lives. While he's distracted, the two run past him and encounter a group of Centaurs, creatures that are half man, half horse. These beasts shoot any soul from across the bank that tries to raise itself out of the river too high for the magnitude of his or her sin.