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Themes

We never see the battlefield in Lovelace's "To Lucasta, Going to the Wars," but we can sense its presence in every stanza. At its heart, this is a poem about the difficult decision to go to war, and the effect that decision has on our loved ones. So while we may not get a battle scene, we're reminded of the battles that go down on the home front.

Questions About Warfare

  1. What does the speaker associate with war in the poem? Do you think he views war negatively or positively?
  2. How do you think Lucasta sees war? Are there any hints in the poem that can help you answer?
  3. What is it about war that has our speaker so willing to go?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

"To Lucasta" portrays war in an unconventional way by showing us not the bodies that line the battlefield, but rather the effects it has on our domestic attachments.

"To Lucasta" doesn't necessarily glorify war, but it suggests that sometimes fighting for what we believe in—even if that means leaving behind people we love—is necessary if we are to stand by our principles.

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