The Emperor (second from the left) is pretending to see the material on the loom. He knows everyone is focused on him and he must not show his true thought for fear of being unfit for office.
The good old minister (to the right of the Emperor) thinks the emperor can see the material and he is supporting his own comments from earlier in the story: “Oh, it is very pretty—quite enchanting!” He’s thinking he needs to keep his job.
The two swindlers(working at the loom) are probably thinking what idiots these people are and how easy it is to prey on others’ weaknesses. They are smiling at the Emperor and gesturing for his approval when actually they are mocking him.
At the end of the story, as the Emperor paraded his new “suit” in a great procession, a little child said, “But he has nothing on at all.” Based on your reading, what quality does the child possess in comparison to the Emperor and his trusted officials?
The child possesses innocence and honesty, whereas the Emperor and his trusted officials are afraid of being exposed as unworthy of their positions. Once the child, who did not need to be fit for any office, could see that nothing was there, then everyone else (except the Emperor and his servants) could admit it too. Compared to the quality of the material, the quality of the child’s honesty is truly wonderful.
Why did the Emperor continue to walk in the procession even though he heard (and believed) the child and the crowd were right when they stated, “he has nothing on at all!”? (page 140)
The Emperor was too proud and afraid to back down. He could not admit that he was fooled; he had to maintain his dignity. As stated in the text: “And he held himself stiffer than ever, and the chamberlains walked on, holding up the train which was not there at all.”
How did the swindlers trick or cheat the Emperor and his people? How were the swindlers able to deceive everyone? Include in your answer details about the swindlers and the Emperor and his councilmen. (pages 139-140)
The swindlers are great actors and convincing salesmen. They craft their con around people’s insecurities. The swindlers are good liars.
“They set up two looms and pretended to be very hard at work…”
“..they worked at the empty looms till late into the night.”
The Emperor and his councilmen were worried that they were unfit for office because they could not see the cloth. Their own insecurities prevented them from stating what was right in front of their eyes.
“I will send my honest old minister to the weavers,” thought the Emperor. “He can judge best how the cloth looks, for he is intelligent, and nobody is better fitted for his office than he.”
“Heaven help us!” “Why I cannot see anything at all,”
“I am not stupid,” thought the man, “so it must be that I am unfit for my high post. It is ludicrous, but I must not let anyone know it.”
“Doesn’t my suit fit me beautifully?” And he (Emperor) turned once more to the mirror so that people would think he was admiring his garments.