Plutus, referred to as the “God of Wealth”, formerly worshipped y the Greeks and Romans, tries to stop the poets from entering the fourth circle, but Dante chastises him and Plutus collapses, falling to the ground.
Circle 4 is the circle for Wasters and Hoarders who spend the afterlife rolling enormous weights at one other, using only their chests. The two sectors of souls shout at each other: :”Why do you hoard?” shout the Wasters and “Why do you waste?” shout the Hoarders. After each clash, the souls hurry their weights back again, and then repeat their same actions while continuing to scream at each other.
Virgil hustles Dante on and they cross to another bank and discover a fountain which flows down though a crack in the rock. At the bottom of the stream the pair discover a marsh called Styx where souls are immersed in the mud, striking out at each other with their hands, feet and head and also biting each other. These are souls who have been destroyed by anger and sullenness. They now spend their lives in the mud, choking on it as they did on their own malevolent hatred during their lives, as a punishment for wasting the sunlight and wallowing in ‘mud’ when they were alive.
An extract from Canto 7:
“Said the good Teacher: “Son, thou seest now
the souls of those whom anger overcame;
nay, more, I ’d have thee certainly believe
that ’neath the water there are folk who sigh,
and make this water bubble at its surface,
as, wheresoe’er it turn, thine eye reveals.
Stuck in the slime, they say: “Sullen we were
in the sweet air that ’s gladdened by the sun,
bearing within us fumes of surliness;
we now are sullen in the swamp’s black mire.””