The Emperor's New Clothes  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

"The Emperor's New Clothes" (Keiserens nye Klæder) is a fairy tale by Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen about an emperor who unwittingly hires two swindlers to create a new suit of clothes for him. The tale was first published in 1837 as part of Eventyr, fortalte for Børn (Fairy Tales, Told for Children).

The tale is one of Andersen's most popular. It appears often in selected tales collections of his work and is frequently published in illustrated storybook editions for children. The tale has seen adaptations in animated film, and television drama.

Plot

An Emperor who cares for nothing but his wardrobe hires two weavers who promise him the finest suit of clothes from a fabric invisible to anyone who is unfit for his position or "just hopelessly stupid". The Emperor cannot see the cloth himself, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing unfit for his position or stupid; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they dress him in mime and the Emperor then marches in procession before his subjects. A child in the crowd calls out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor cringes, suspecting the assertion is true, but holds himself up proudly and continues the procession.

Use as an idiom

The phrase "emperor's new clothes" has become an idiom about logical fallacies. The story may be explained by pluralistic ignorance.

The story is about a situation where "no one believes, but everyone believes that everyone else believes. Or alternatively, everyone is ignorant to whether the Emperor has clothes on or not, but believes that everyone else is not ignorant."

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Emperor's New Clothes" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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