Canto 1 Questions and Answers
1. What was Virgil’s occupation? When and where did he live?
2. Where did Virgil tell Dante that joy and its beginning could be found?
3. Name the creatures that Dante finds in the woods.
4. Which creature was the most horrible and why?
5. Dante felt fear for many reasons. What were some of these reasons?
6. Why did Dante not know how he got into the woods?
7. What helped Dante to feel hope?
8. What did Virgil say they would see and hear on the journey?
9. Why did Virgil explain that some sufferers were happy in their pain?
10. Virgil said he would guide Dante on a journey but Virgil would have to turn back at one point. Where would Virgil stop with Dante?
1. Virgil was a poet in ancient Rome.
2. Virgil told Dante that joy and its beginning could be found on the mountain.
3. Dante finds a leopard, a lion, and a wolf in the woods.
4. The wolf was the most horrible since it was greedy and never satisfied; it represented sins of age.
5. Dante felt fear from being lost, from being in the woods, from the three creatures he saw, and from the darkness of sin and the night.
6. Dante became lost because he was not paying attention; he strayed farther and farther before he became aware of his errors. He was lost in sin and lost in the dark valley.
7. Dante felt hope when he saw the sun and encountered Virgil. Dante’s hope was increased when Virgil said that he would serve as Dante’s guide.
8. Virgil said they would gaze on those in the fire and hear the despairing cries of those in the pit before Dante would climb higher.
9. Some sufferers were happy to be in pain for they looked forward to rising ultimately to a glad place.
10. Virgil would turn back at the gates of Heaven.
Canto 2 Questions and Answers
1. With which two other travelers does Dante compare himself unfavorably?
2. Who opposes cruelty?
3. What is Virgil’s impression of Dante’s courage?
4. What happens to Dante’s courage after Virgil talks to him?
5. Who was the heavenly woman who was concerned about Dante?
6. Who was the New Testament Saint who recorded his images of Hell?
7. Who created the character of Aeneas?
8. Who guarded the gates of Heaven?
9. How does Virgil’s courage compare to Dante’s?
10. Why did Virgil decide to try to rescue Dante from his wanderings?
1. Dante compares himself unfavorably with the travelers St. Peter and Aeneas.
2. Lucy (St. Lucia) opposes cruelty of every kind.
3. Virgil sees Dante as a coward.
4. Dante’s courage blossoms like a flower after Virgil talks with him.
5. Beatrice was very concerned about Dante.
6. Paul was the New Testament Saint who recorded his images of Hell.
7. Aeneas was the character created by Virgil.
8. St. Peter guarded the gates of Heaven.
9. Virgil’s courage is initially great in comparison to Dante’s.
10. Beatrice and St. Lucia, the messenger of the Virgin Mary, talked him into the rescue.
Canto 3 Questions and Answers
1. What was Dante’s first reaction to the wailing?
2. To what does Dante compare the worry that the uncommitted might be missing something?
3. What is the name of the river which circles the rim of Hell?
4. What was the name of the ferryman?
5. Who were the cowards in Canto III?
6. The river’s name is translated as “joyous.” Why is this a good name for the river?
7. The uncommitted had saved their blood all their lives. What was the ultimate result of this act?
8. What is Dante’s initial reaction to the many souls he sees in the Vestibule of Hell?
9. Who are the cowards whom Dante describes?
10. What is Dante’s reaction to the sights and sounds of Hell at the end of Canto III?
1. Dante cried when he heard the sound of the wailing.
2. Dante compared the worry that the uncommitted might be missing something to the sting of wasps and bees.
3. The river was the Acheron.
4. The ferryman was named Charon.
5. The cowards are those who were afraid to make a decision.
6. The river could bring joy because it takes the dead to an area where they have made a conscious decision to travel.
7. They now find their blood spilled by wasps and hornets and drunk by worms.
8. Dante is surprised at their numbers; he had no idea so many had died or that so many had died uncommitted.
9. The cowards that Dante describes are the people who were not brave enough to make a decision one way or the other.
10. Dante is frightened and falls into a swoon.
Canto 4 Questions and Answers
1. Where is Dante when he awakes from his swoon?
2. What causes Dante to wake from his swoon?
3. What causes the thunder Dante heard?
4. What is the sound of the first circumference?
5. Who is in the First Circle?
6. Who are the four mighty shades?
7. Dante says that the group of six dwindles to two. What does he mean?
8. What is the occupation of the “men that know”?
9. Why is the first circle called “Limbo”?
10. Who is the first father that the one with crowns took from the First Circle?
1. Dante is on the brink of the pit when he awakes.
2. Thunder wakes Dante from his swoon.
3. The thunder that Dante hears is the sound of the wails of anguish from the pit.
4. The sound of the first circumference is that of sighing.
5. In the First Circle are those who are blameless but are unbaptized and lived before the days of Christendom.
6. Homer, Horace Ovid and Lucan are the four shadows.
7. Horace, Homer, Ovid, and Lucan stay behind and Virgil and Dante move forward.
8. The men that know are philosophers and teachers.
9. The First Circle is called Limbo because the souls there are neither in Heaven nor in Hell.
10. The first father whom the one with crowns rescued was Adam.
Canto 5 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Francesca’s heart still hurt and ache?
2. How does Dante react to Francesca’s tale?
3. What does Francesca say is the greatest sadness in this place?
4. What is the punishment in this Second Circle?
5. What caused Francesca to commit the sin of lust with Paolo?
6. How did Francesca die?
7. Why does Dante not tell the reader of the trip from Circle One to Circle Two and from Circle Two to Circle Three?
8. What does Minos do?
9. In Canto III and in Canto V Dante refers to will and power being one. Where is this place where will and power are one?
10. What does it mean when Dante says that he is grieved by the way in which the murder of Francesca and Paolo came about?
1. Francesca’s husband murdered her without her having a chance to repent; she will be punished eternally. She will continue to remember the love.
2. Dante cries and swoons with pity at Francesca’s tale.
3. The greatest sadness is to remember the happy times.
4. The punishment in the Second Circle is to drift in the wind and to continue to remember the sin; there is no peace or redemption.
5. Francesca and Paolo were reading of Sir Lancelot and Guinevere when they, too, yielded to sin.
6. Francesca and Paolo were murdered by Francesca’s husband Gianciotto da Verruchio when he found them.
7. Dante swoons when he makes the trip from Circle One to Circle Two and when he makes the trip from Circle Two to Circle Three.
8. Minos admits people to Hell. He listens to their confessions and then assigns a place in Hell to them.
9. Will and power are one in Heaven.
10. The “way in which it all came about” is a quotation from The Inferno which may refer to the way in which Gianciotto da Verruchio killed Paolo and Francesca. It may also be a reference to the fact that they were killed without a chance to confess their sins and seek forgiveness.
Canto 6 Questions and Answers
1. What is the atmosphere like in Circle Three?
2. Of what crimes were the souls in Circle Three guilty?
3. From where did the gluttonous soul who talks to Dante and Virgil in Circle Three come?
4. From what city did Dante come?
5. What are the three sparks from Hell sowed in every person’s breast?
6. Who is the great enemy that Dante and Virgil will find at the next descent?
7. What does the word Ciacco mean?
8. Who is the guardian of Circle Three?
9. What were the gluttons eating in Hell?
10. What is the “Enemy Power?”
1. The atmosphere in Circle Three includes rain, sleet, snow, and hail.
2. The souls in Circle Three are guilty of gluttony.
3. The gluttonous soul who spoke with Dante and Virgil was from Florence.
4. Dante was from Florence.
5. The three sparks were Avarice, Envy, and Pride.
6. Pluto will be at the next level down.
7. The word Ciacco means “pig.”
8. The three-headed dog Cerberus was the guardian of Circle Three.
9. The gluttons were eating mud in Hell.
10. The “Enemy Power” is a reference to Christ, the enemy of sin.
Canto 7 Questions and Answers
1. Who guards the Fourth Circle?
2. What sins have been committed by those in the Fourth Circle?
3. Describe how the squanderers and the hoarders are punished.
4. What is the name of the marsh in the Fourth Circle?
6. How does Dante travel within the Fourth Circle?
7. The Fourth Circle is the last of the circles of Incontinence. What is “incontinence”?
8. What did Virgil and Dante find at the foot of the path and stairs?
9. To whom do nations owe the credit for the amassing great wealth or the blame for not amassing this wealth?
10. Why did Virgil encourage...
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Canto 8 Questions and Answers
1. Who rows the boat for Dante and Virgil?
2. What is the signal used to send for the oarsman?
3. What does the soul in the mud mean when he asks who is here before his time?
4. Why is the oarsman angry when he sees who has come for a ride?
5. What is the name of the soul in the mud who causes Dante to show anger?
6. What is Dante’s reaction to the pulling and hauling that Filippo Argenti receives?
7. Dante says at one point that his gentle father has left him. To whom is he referring?
8. What is the name of the city at which they arrive?
9. How is Virgil...
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Canto 9 Questions and Answers
1. From where did Virgil hope to get help?
2. Who is Erichtho?
3. Why had Virgil been in Hell before?
4. Who are the Furies?
5. Who was the queen whom the three goddesses served?
6. Describe Medusa.
7. What are the tombs like near the City of Dis?
8. How does the heavenly messenger open the gate?
9. Why do you think the heavenly messenger spent so little time with Dante and Virgil?
10. Who are the heretics?
1. Virgil hopes to get help from Heaven.
2. Erichtho is a witch.
3. Virgil had...
(The entire section is 208 words.)
Canto 10 Questions and Answers
1. Dante addresses the power that “wheels” him. To whom is he referring?
2. What is an Epicurean?
3. Who is the family enemy that Dante encounters in the graveyard?
4. One of the shades inquires of a family member to Dante. About whom does he ask?
5. What does he find out about this family member?
6. With whom does the shade say he is lying in that graveyard?
7. Name the term used to refer to Christ in Canto X?
8. About what do Dante and Farinata argue in Canto X?
9. What is the reference to Beatrice in Canto X?
10. Who is the queen who reigns...
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Canto 11 Questions and Answers
1. What sin does Virgil say that people—but not animals—are subject to commit and that God hates worst?
2. In which ring would one find murderers, people who are violent with their hands, and robbers?
3. In which ring would one find those who gamble, waste their money, and rob themselves of goods?
4. What is the sin of Sodom?
5. What is the sin of Cahors?
6. Where would one find flatterers, sorcerers, hypocrites, and cheats?
7. Which is least blameworthy: incontinence, vice, or brute bestiality?
8. What does Dante say will heal all light which was dim?
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Canto 12 Questions and Answers
1. Canto XII begins with a reference to a “Thing.” What is this thing? Describe it.
2. What natural disaster or occurrence has happened since Virgil’s trip to that area?
3. Who is the great Prince referred to in the Canto?
4. Who is the prey mentioned in Canto XII?
5. What is a centaur? Who is the leader or chief of the centaurs?
6. What is the task of the centaurs?
7. When they are walking together, Chiron reveals that he is aware of the fact that Dante is still alive. How does he know this?
8. When Chiron asks why Dante is there, how does Virgil respond to him?...
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Canto 13 Questions and Answers
1. In line 94 a reference is made to Minos. Who is Minos?
2. In line 64 a reference is made to a harlot. Who is this harlot?
3. Why is Dante reluctant to speak to the trees?
4. A reference is made in line 8 to a place between Corveto and Cecina. What does this mean?
5. Canto XIII concludes with a reference to the fact that the shade made a scaffold of his roof-tree. What does this mean?
6. Why does Virgil ask Dante to pluck a small branch or twig from a tree?
7. Describe in detail the Harpies mentioned in Canto XIII.
8. In Canto XIII what comes forth from a tree in the...
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Canto 14 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Dante gather the leaves from the ground and place them back near the tree?
2. What is the symbolism of the rain of fire?
3. Who is Capaneus?
4. Who is Cato?
5. What is the name of the mountain?
6. What is the man made from?
7. Which river is able to put out the flames on either side?
8. What is one of the greatest marvels that Virgil tells Dante he will see?
9. Where does Rhea reside?
10. How does Virgil feel about the many questions Dante asked?
1. Dante gathers the leaves because he loves...
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Canto 15 Questions and Answers
1. With what does Dante compare the banks of the river as they continue their journey?
2. How long have Dante and Virgil been traveling?
3. Who is Brunetto?
4. How does Brunetto say that Dante can win?
5. What does Dante say that he will do with the words that Brunetto gives him?
6. Who is the wise lady that Dante mentions in the passage?
7. What is the meaning of the words “Well-heeded is well-heard”?
8. Why does the adviser not tell Dante who is in Circle VII?
9. Who is the “Servant of servants”?
10. How does Dante say that he feels about...
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Canto 16 Questions and Answers
1. What does Dante mean when he says that he has to fall to the center?
2. What do the three shades mean when they say that Guillim Borsier’ has “but late enrolled”?
3. How does Dante feel about the three shades and their punishment in Hell?
4. What is the political affiliation of the three shades?
5. How does Virgil say that Dante is to treat the three shades?
6. What are the Acquacheta and the Forli?
7. What does Virgil throw into the water?
8. What are the Apennines?
9. Whom does Jacopo blame for his vice?
10. What is the Comedy that Dante...
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Canto 17 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Virgil tell Dante to talk with those in the Circles of Fraud?
2. Describe the sounds that Dante hears while riding the creature from the depths.
3. What part of the Geryon does Dante consider dangerous?
4. To what animal does Dante compare the Usurers?
5. What do the Usurers wear about their throats?
6. What is on the purses of the Usurers?
7. What are the faces of the Usurers like? Why are they like that?
8. How do Dante and Virgil get to the next circle?
9. How does Dante feel on the trip to the next circle?
10. Who was Icarus? How does...
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Canto 18 Questions and Answers
1. What is Malbowges? Of what is Malbowges made? What is in the middle of Malbowges?
2. Compare and contrast seducers and panders.
3. Why is Alessio Interminei in this place?
5. What is a bowge?
6. Of what sins are those in the first and second parts of Malbowges guilty?
7. How are these seducers being punished?
8. On which side of the road do the sinners walk?
9. How are the flatterers punished?
10. For what sin is the harlot being punished?
1. Malbowges is a region in Hell made of iron-gray stone with a well in the middle.
2. One who lures or...
(The entire section is 185 words.)
Canto 19 Questions and Answers
1. How does Dante know that Virgil approves of what he says?
2. Who is Simon Magus?
3. Why does Dante break up an area made for the priests to stand in to perform baptisms?
4. What is the punishment of the Simoniacs?
5. What is the punishment of the priests?
6. Who is the priest with whom Dante speaks?
7. For whom does Nicholas III mistake Dante?
8. Who is the “Fairest among Women” that the priests had used poorly?
9. Why does Nicholas III not realize that Dante is not Pope Boniface VIII?
10. Who is the disciple who replaces Judas?
(The entire section is 230 words.)
Canto 20 Questions and Answers
1. Dante mentions the Abyss and the chasm; to what is he referring?
2. What is unusual about the sinners that Dante sees in Canto XX?
3. Amphiaraus tried to look ahead to save his own life; what happens to him when he leaves a battle?
4. What does Tiresias strike with his wand?
5. What happens to Tiresias after he uses his wand the first time in striking these objects?
6. How does Tiresias change himself back after using his wand the first time?
7. What is the crime of the sinners who have their heads turned backwards on their bodies?
8. Who is the daughter of Tiresias?...
(The entire section is 264 words.)
Canto 21 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Virgil pull Dante to one side and cry out?
2. What is a barrator?
3. Why do the barrators remain in the boiling pitch?
4. How does Virgil manage to get by and to help Dante get by the demons?
5. What is the name of the main demon?
6. Describe the appearance of the demons.
7. What caused the earthquake that destroyed the bridge?
8. On what day of the week does the encounter with Belzecue occur?
9. What year did the earthquake occur?
10. What time of day is it as the demons talk with Dante and Virgil?
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Canto 22 Questions and Answers
1. What is the legend of the dolphins mentioned in Canto XXII?
2. What is the reaction of the shades to Barbiger?
3. What is the name of the shade who does not submerge himself?
4. How do Dante and Virgil manage to get rid of their escort?
5. How do the demons punish Gian Polo when they find him out of the pitch?
6. What does Gian Polo promise to bring back from the pit?
7. Gian Polo is from which kingdom?
8. To which animals does Dante compare those in the pitch?
9. From which country does Gian Polo come?
10. What signal do the shades use to tell...
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Canto 23 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Dante say that he is particularly frightened of the demons?
2. Is Dante alone in his fear?
3. What is Virgil’s reaction when he sees the demons?
4. Who are the sinners in Circle VIII, Bowge VI?
5. How are they attired?
6. Who is the shade Dante sees crucified?
7. What is the formation that Virgil and Dante take when they resume travel?
8. Who are Catalano and Loderingo?
9. How are the demons able to overtake the two travelers if the travelers have a head start?
10. How long are the hypocrites to wear the cloaks?
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Canto 24 Questions and Answers
1. What is a hind?
2. Describe the relationship between Dante and Virgil.
3. Virgil warns Dante several times to make sure that the rocks he steps on will bear his weight. Dante is not worried about this. Why?
4. What is Virgil’s reaction to Dante’s stopping for breath?
5. What does Dante see in Bowge VII with the sinners?
6. How are the sinners in Bowge VII tied?
7. What is Vanni Fucci’s disposition?
8. Vanni Fucci refers to Mars. Who is Mars?
9. Fucci predicts the defeat of a faction? Which faction is this?
10. Why does Fucci share this...
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Canto 25 Questions and Answers
1. Fucci makes a sign at the beginning of the canto. What kind of sign is this?
2. At whom does Fucci make the gesture?
3. How does Dante feel about Fucci after observing his actions?
4. What does Dante believe is unique about Fucci?
5. What is Maremma?
6. Do you think that Fucci feels remorse for the sins he committed in life?
7. What is Cacus?
8. Where does Cacus live?
9. What does the term metamorphosis mean?
10. How does Dante recognize Puccio?
1. Fucci makes a rude gesture at the beginning of...
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Canto 26 Questions and Answers
1. Dante begins Canto XXVI with irony. Describe this irony.
2. How are the Counselors of Fraud punished?
3. What does Virgil think of Dante’s desire to speak to the flame?
4. Does Dante get to ask his questions?
5. Who is the flame who tells them of his travels?
6. What was the Palladium?
7. How was Eteocles killed?
8. What was unusual about the funeral pyre of Eteocles and his brother?
9. How was Ulysses killed?
10. What is the name of Deidamia’s son?
1. Dante says for Florence to rejoice because it is...
(The entire section is 221 words.)
Canto 27 Questions and Answers
1. For what does the tall flame have to wait before it can pass on to another place?
2. What was the purpose of the Sicilian bull?
3. What is meant by the statement that uncontrite is unabsolved?
4. What is the occupation of the shade before he became a friar?
5. Who is the shade who asks of conditions on earth in this canto?
6. Why does the shade reveal his identity to Dante?
7. What does Dante tell him of the condition of Romagna?
8. Why is the shade present in Bowge VIII?
9. The shade says it was brought to Minos. Who is Minos?
10. Why had...
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Canto 28 Questions and Answers
1. What is the punishment of the Sowers of Discord?
2. Who is Absalom?
3. Who is Bertrand de Born?
4. Why does Virgil say that Dante is in Hell?
5. What advice does the outcast give to Caesar?
6. What is the outcast’s punishment for giving ill advice to Caesar and for creating discord?
7. How is the outcast able to speak?
8. Which type of discord does Bertrand represent?
9. Which type of discord does Mahomet represent?
10. Which type of discord does Curio represent?
1. The Sowers of Discord received bodily...
(The entire section is 225 words.)
Canto 29 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Dante spend time observing the people in the Ninth Trench?
2. What does Virgil say that his business is in Hell?
3. Why is Aretine being punished in Hell?
4. What is the punishment for falsifying?
5. How large is the fosse, according to Canto XXIX?
6. According to the myth, how did Jupiter repopulate the island of Aegina?
7. According to the myth, why did Jupiter have to repopulate the island of Aegina?
8. What was the “joke” that Aretine had told Albero of Siena?
9. How did Albero punish Aretine?
10. What are some examples of...
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Canto 30 Questions and Answers
1. What is Dante doing when Virgil reprimands him?
2. What is Dante’s reaction to Virgil’s reprimand?
3. What images of falsifiers are found in Bowge X?
4. In Canto XXX about what does the Greek lie?
5. Whose image is on the counterfeit coins in Canto XXX?
6. How did Hecuba kill herself?
7. What is the sin of Myrrha?
8. What is the sin of Gianni Schicchi?
9. Who is Capocchio?
10. What did Juno send to Athamas for revenge?
1. Dante is watching the sinners and listening intently to what they say when...
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Canto 31 Questions and Answers
1. What does Virgil say causes Dante not to see well?
2. What are the towers that Dante thinks he sees?
3. What does Dante think about nature’s decision to discontinue the giants?
4. How large (using the measurement of hands) is the giant from the place where the mantle is buckled to the ground?
5. Who is Ephialtes?
6. What is the punishment of Ephialtes?
7. Who is Nimrod?
8. What is the duty of Antaeus?
9. Who is the military leader that Scipio causes to retreat?
10. What is Carisenda?
1. Virgil says that...
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Canto 32 Questions and Answers
1. What is the temperature like in Region ii?
2. What does Dante find in the lake beneath him?
3. What is Region ii called?
4. In Canto XXXII what is one of the shades eating that causes Dante horror?
5. One of the shades would not tell his name. How is Dante able to learn his name?
6. What is unusual about the tears of the shades in Region i?
7. Whose sin is more severe: traitors to country or traitors to kin?
8. What about the location of that sin in Hell enables one to know the answer to question 7?
9. Where does the land of Caina get its name?
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Canto 33 Questions and Answers
1. Why does the sinner speak to explain his ugly feast?
2. Which of the shades is Count Ugolino?
3. What is the occupation of the shade who is being eaten?
4. How had Count Ugolino died?
5. What relation to Count Ugolino were the four who died, according to the canto?
6. What is the day when Dante visits the lowest area of Hell?
7. What promise does Dante fail to keep?
8. What was the dreadful den in which Ugolino died?
9. What is the name given the dreadful den after Ugolino was found?
10. Who was Anselm?
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Canto 34 Questions and Answers
1. Why does Dante not describe all the sights he sees in Canto XXXIV?
2. What name does Dante give Satan in Canto XXXIV?
3. How does Satan’s size compare with that of the giants?
4. How are Dante and Virgil able to climb out of the pit?
5. What is the sin of Iscariot?
6. What is Satan doing to the sinners in Region iv?
7. What is the name of Region iv?
8. Name one of the shades that Satan is devouring.
9. Dante says that he grasps the hair of the Worm. To what is he referring?
10. Dante refers to Lucifer in Canto XXXIV. Who is Lucifer?
(The entire section is 208 words.)