The Emperor’s New Clothes -Summary

“The Emperor’s new clothes” is a fun story about human vanity and the fear of truth, wisdom, stupidity, naivety and incompetence. It reminds us of the never-ending human desire for power, material things and good position in the society.

The main starter in the story is the Emperor’s weakest spot and that is clothes. The other starters of the plot are the conmen who wanted to take advantage of the Emperor’s weak spot to earn money. The time is not specific but, as in all fairy tales, everything happens once upon a time in a castle.

Andersen tried hard to tell the plot and explain great themes with short and easy sentences and despite the fact that the stories were short their composition was perfect from the starting point all the way to the end.

Book Summary

Once upon a time, there was an Emperor who was only interested in good clothes. He was so in love with it that he did not care much for anything else. One day a few conmen appeared and told him that they were excellent weavers and that they could make the most beautiful fabric in the world. It didn’t take long to get the Emperor’s attention. They told him they made fabrics of wonderful samples and colors with a specific feature. They were invisible to anyone who was stupid or incapable of doing his job.

The conmen ordered some of the finest materials and secretly they sold them to get the money. To fool the Emperor and his servants they started to weave but there was nothing. The Emperor sent him most loyal servants to check up on them. When they saw that they can’t see the alleged fabric they were scared that they’ll get fired for being stupid or incompetent to do their jobs. That is the reason why they lied that they saw magical fabrics.

In the end, the Emperor decided together with many helpers see the fabrics and see how the weavers work was going. Everyone who accompanied him was afraid to come off as a stupid person so they admired the fabric that wasn’t there and advised the Emperor to put that nothing on himself. The conmen showed him the cape, pants, and the coat but they were actually empty-handed.

The Emperor took all the clothes off of himself and the conmen dressed him in the invisible clothes. The Emperor started a procession where his servants walked behind him with their hands raised to hold the cape. Everyone admired him and his new clothes until one boy yelled that the Emperor had no clothes on.

Characters Analysis

Emperor was a leader that got comforted with his position and all of the sudden he was confronted with the fact that he could lose his position for stupidity and incompetence.

Conmen were sly and managed to fool the whole castle and in the end, they accomplished their goal and got rich.

The child is the voice of consciousness in this story. In his naivety and a life deprived of ambition linked to material interests, he is the only one that spoke the truth. At the end, we have a question whether anyone needs honesty and truth in a world ruled by lies.

A regiment is a large group of people that snaps out of lies when someone tells the truth. They accept the truth but it doesn’t matter because lies are well settled in their world.

Servants are the people loyal to the Emperor and they live in fear of losing their jobs if they seem stupid by saying they don’t see anything. Just to keep their position they are ready to accept any kind of lie and support it.

Hans Christian Andersen Biography

Hans Christian Andersen was born April 2nd, 1805 in Odense. He was born into a poor family. His father was a shoemaker and his mother did not have a job. Even though they did not have much Hans was happy for growing up next to a father who recognized his love for adventures and stories. Since he was a boy his father told him many stories and helped him build a puppet theater.

His life got hard when his father died. His mother had to clean other people’s laundry in order to provide food, shelter and clothes for herself and her son. Even though she wanted to send him to a school to study something he wanted to go into a big city and make something out of himself.

He had only 14 years when he came to Copenhagen. He lived in an attic and worked a lot to make it. He even danced for a short time. When he was 17 he decided to go to school so he sat in school with 12-years old. He even went to a university.

He wrote and studied at the same time. He wrote many fairy tales and “The ugly Duckling” is considered to contain elements of his life. Some of his other famous fairy tales are: “The little Mermaid”, “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, “The Snow Queen”…

He died in Copenhagen August 4th, 1875.

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