Through a sociohistorical analysis of the hydra in Giambattista Basile’s dragon-slayer tale “Lo mercante,” this essay challenges the universalizing interpretation of the dragon as a worthy foil for the hero. In depicting the hero’s struggle with the beast, Basile employs tropes that purposefully recall a creature that was crafted by charlatans and widely discussed in scientific texts. Basile transforms the epic battle between dragon and slayer into a comic encounter in which the hero confronts a manufactured monster while playfully blurring the boundary between two seemingly disparate genres, the scientific treatise and the literary fairy tale.
Magnanini, Suzanne. "Foils and Fakes: The Hydra in Giambattista Basile’s Dragon-Slayer Tale, “Lo mercante”." Marvels & Tales 19.2 (2005). Web. <https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/marvels/vol19/iss2/1>.