For the ancient British queen, see Boudicca (Historical Figure)
Boudicca was a play written by William Shakespeare under contract by Sir William Cecil. It was performed as part of Cecil's plot to overthrow Queen Isabella and King Albert of England and restore Queen Elizabeth to the throne, debuting at The Theatre in 1598.
In Boudicca, Boudicia was designed, both by character and by costume, to resemble the then-deposed Queen Elizabeth. The story follows the Icini army from its humble beginnings when it first revolts against the Romans through a series of victories before Boudicca, inspired to overconfidence and against the advice of her generals, overextends her forces and endures a hard reversal of fortune. In the final scene, Gaius Suetonius Paulinus executes Boudicca, but not before the queen defiantly prophesies that "a thousand years and more hence" another queen would rule in Britain, one who would finish what she had started and bring the island's people to the glory and dominance they deserved--a clear reference to Elizabeth. (It should be noted that the English, including Elizabeth, were in fact descended from the Saxons, a Germanic tribe which conquered the island from the Britons who were descended from Boudicca's people in the fifth and sixth centuries.)
After Boudicca's dramatic death scene, which brought the audience, alternately, to tears and stunned silence when the play debuted, Shakespeare himself delivered the following rhymed couplet: "No epilogue here, unless you make it/If you want your freedom, go and take it." When the play debuted, that couplet inspired the audience to storm the Tower of London and liberate Elizabeth.
After Elizabeth was restored to the throne, she visited The Theatre to see an encore performance of Boudicca. Following the performance, she promised to become the patron of Lord Westmorland's Men (thereafter known as The Queen's Men) and knighted Shakespeare.
Harry Turtledove's version of Boudicca is based primarily on Bonducca, a play by Shakespeare contemporary, John Fletcher. It also makes use of Henry VIII, Titus Andronicus and King John, also by Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe's Tamburlaine, and William Averell's An Exhortacion to all English Subjects.