What is a major weakness that the Emperor possesses? Support your answer with evidence from the text. (page 137)
He loves clothes more than anything else. The very first sentence of the story states that the “Emperor was so fond of clothes that he spent all his money on them. He did not care for his soldiers, or for the theatre, or for driving in the woods, except to show off his new clothes.”
A council chamber is a room where important people, such as rulers or elected officials, meet to work and make decisions together. What does the author say about a king that cannot be said of the Emperor? What can be said about the emperor instead? What does this say about the Emperor’s character as a ruler? Quote from the story to support your answer. (page 137)
Anderson uses the following quote to describe the Emperor’s fondness for clothes: “He had an outfit for every hour of the day, and just as they say of a king, “He is in the council chamber,” so they always said of him, “The Emperor is in his dressing room.” The author is pointing out that the Emperor spends more time with his clothes than he does running his empire. This shows that he is not a very good ruler.
The word swindler means someone who profits by cheating or tricking someone else. On page 137 how are the swindlers in the story hoping to make a profit? Describe the swindlers’ claim.
The author states that the swindlers “claimed they were weavers and said they could weave the finest cloth imaginable. “Their colors and patterns, they said, were not only exceptionally beautiful, but the clothes made of this material possessed the wonderful quality of being invisible to any man who was unfit for his office, or was hopelessly stupid.” This shows that the swindlers are planning to take advantage not only of the emperor’s love of clothes, but also of his pride as a ruler.
What is the Emperor’s first thought about the clothes the swindlers claimed to make? (page 138)
What does the Emperor hope to achieve by wearing these exceptionally beautiful clothes of wonderful quality? (page 138)
By wearing the clothes, the Emperor believes that he “should be able to find out which men in my empire were unfit for their posts, and I could tell the clever from the stupid.”
Why does the Emperor send other people to see how the weavers are progressing? What are characteristics of the officials the Emperor sends to look at the cloth? Why did the Emperor wait so long to see the clothes for himself? (page 138)
The Emperor sends someone else because deep down he fears that he may be stupid or unfit for office. The author states:
“But he felt rather uneasy when he remembered that whoever was not fit for his office could not see it. He believed, of course, that he had nothing to fear for himself, yet he thought he would send somebody else first to see how things were progressing.” The Emperor chose “honest, good, intelligent” officials.
He wanted to make sure everyone else could see them because he doubted himself. “Am I stupid? Am I unfit for office?”
The adjectives describing the minister change from paragraph 5 and 6 on p. 138 to paragraph 7 on the same page. Based on your reading, what happened to change the minister?
“Honest old minister” and “good old minister” become “poor old minister.” The Emperor trusts the minister and respects his honesty and his wisdom. The minister is confused when he sees no fabric on the loom. He fears for his job and his intelligence. The minister thinks, “can I be so stupid?...Is it possible that I am not fit for my office? No, no, I must not tell anyone that
“What is this? ...I do not see anything at all. This is terrible! Am I stupid? Am I unfit to be Emperor?” Everyone the Emperor sent to see the material reported back that it was beautiful. He had probably been pleased to know that the people working for him were smart and fit for their jobs, but now his own intelligence and fitness as a ruler were called into question.
How do the Emperor and his council members “see” the clothes? What makes the description believable? (pages 137-139)
They can envision the material because it is described elaborately by the swindlers and because the Emperor and the officials do not want to admit to being unable to see anything which would make them unfit for office or stupid. The officials repeat to the Emperor the descriptions of the cloth that were given by the swindlers. The swindlers described the colors to the old minister and explained the curious pattern. The old minister listened carefully so he might tell the Emperor what they (the weavers/swindlers) said. “Is it not a beautiful piece of cloth?” said the two swindlers, showing and explaining the magnificent pattern… When the officials accompanied the Emperor to see the cloth, they both repeated again about the cloth being “beautiful”.
Look at the illustration on p. 139. What can the reader understand about what is happening and what the characters may be thinking after looking at the illustration and reading pages 138-139?