The characters in "War" are the people in the traveling carriage. A man and his wife who are mourning because their son is about to go to war join the original five people on the carriage. The husband explains his wife's sadness, but the other people have experienced similar losses due to the conflict. None of the characters are named. The five original passengers departed from Rome; the other two got on at Fabriano. One of the men already lost his son in the war.
The themes in the story include war and loss. Each person traveling has been touched by war. This has filled them with the fear of loss. Every time a loved one leaves for the war, they worry that they won't see them again. One man joins in saying that his son is dead but that his son's love for the country they live in and his belief that he died for a worthy cause brings him solace. Because of this, he says he isn't mourning. However, when the woman asks if his son is really dead, the man breaks into great sobs.
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