Volume 9, Issue 2, 2012
Semiotics of World Cultures
The Semiosis of Imperialism
Boadicea or the 17th-Century Iconography of a Barbarous Queen
By discussing Bonduca (1611) a a Jacobean tragi-comedy in the Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher canon, generally judged by scholars to be the work of
the second one alone, this paper looks into the tragic story of Queen Boadicea, as rewritten in fiction. The cultural and semiotic codes that Bonduca represents are examined in the context of imperialism. The paper explores the conflict between the Romans and the colonized Iceni tribe and discusses the legitimization of colonization in the light of historical records alongside fictional accounts. The paper shows how the Boudican Revolt can be seen as part of the disempowerment of Brittany. The study serves as an example of the need for a complex multi-dimensional framework for the comparative study of literatures and cultures.