Folktale Themes Analytical Essay by serendipity

Folktale Themes
A look at the themes of productive deception and unproductive pride in the folktales, "The Emperor's New Clothes" and "The King and the Clever Girl".
# 49009 | 1,022 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2004 | US
Published on Feb 22, 2004 in Literature (Children) , English (Analysis)

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This paper is a comparative analysis of Hans Christian Anderson's Danish tale, "The Emperor's New Clothes" and the Indian tale, "The King and the Clever Girl". It looks at how both the clever girl and the swindler/tailors dupe the king out of money, but do so with a moral intention, to show how fragile the human ego is, and how both tales convey the universality of this theme. In "The Emperor's New Clothes," the entire town is willing to lie so as not to appear stupid; in "The King and the Clever Girl," the king's ministers pretend they see God so that no one will thing they are of a lowly birth. It discusses how, although the lures in these stories are different, one using clothes versus the other's use of spiritual enlightenment, and the details differ between these two folktales, their messages are clear: productive deception can reveal unproductive human pride.

From the Paper:

"Illusion and deception are used purposely, not only to secure financial gain for the clever girl and the tailors but also to demonstrate how easy it can be to fool a mighty king. Purposeful deception is actually portrayed as a necessary evil, one that leads to greater self awareness. However, the ending of the Anderson story is more ambiguous than its Indian counterpart: the emperor holds his head up high even after he is aware that he was duped. The Indian king concedes his defeat and displays genuine humility and admiration for the clever young girl; he more obviously learned a lesson about pride than the Danish emperor, who carries on just as if nothing had happened."

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