Guest post by Occam’s Chainsaw, INTJ
Introverted Intuition (Ni): Palpatine plans for the long haul like no one else. He becomes emperor in a series of plots to gradually enhance his power; as the senator from Naboo, he becomes elected chancellor, then accumulates emergency powers one after the other, and finally becomes emperor, in a process that takes many years. His schemes are generally successful, as he has not only supreme patience, but also the ability to predict the actions and reactions of all the relevant people (and he even fools Yoda and Obi-Wan, two fellow INFJs, on his true intentions until it is too late for anyone to stop him). Palpatine reacts with caution when faced with unexpected aggression; when Queen Amidala returns to Naboo to liberate her occupied home planet, he tells Darth Maul to let his enemies act first. As emperor, Palpatine rarely gets involved in the day-to-day business of running the Empire; he focuses on the most important things, leaving the nuts and bolts to others.
Extroverted Feeling (Fe): Palpatine owes much of his success to emotional manipulation. He orders his lackeys to blockade his own home planet to generate sympathy for himself, plays on Amidala’s sense of urgency to call for the Chancellor Valorum to be replaced, uses the fear of the Separatists to gain emergency powers, and convinces Anakin that he can save the love of his life by turning to the Dark Side. When he becomes emperor, he rules mainly by the fear, backed up by a network of spies, a vast war machine, and eventually, super-weapons capable of destroying planets. When Palpatine schemes to get emergency powers, he never asks the Senate directly for them; he always gets someone else to propose them for him, and he accepts with feigned reluctance. Although he has to trick people into accepting his methods, he actually wants the same things as most of the galactic citizenry: a galaxy that is at peace and free of corruption. His victory, likewise, is not just for himself, but also for the Sith Order that he heads.
Introverted Thinking (Ti): Palpatine has everyone figured out, friend and foe alike. He understands the motivations of everyone around him: the heads of the major corporations with private armies respond to money, Padme Amidala to her duty to Naboo and to the Republic, Mace Windu to existential threats to the Republic and the Jedi Order, and Anakin Skywalker to the fear of losing his wife. Palpatine does not tell Anakin the logic of joining his side up front, preferring to have Anakin to draw the conclusions himself. He understands the irony of his late master, Darth Plagueis, able to save others from dying, but not himself. When tricking people into doing what he wants, Palpatine doesn’t bother falsifying any hard evidence; instead, he distorts the interpretations of the evidence.
Extroverted Sensing (Se): Palpatine hides his Sith identity nearly in plain sight; he even keeps his lightsaber in a secret compartment in his chair. When the moment comes to slaughter the Jedi, it is not enough for Palpatine to know that the Jedi are being killed; he has to FEEL their deaths as they happen. Symbolically, he saves the killing of Yoda for last, allowing him to escape (one of Palpatine’s pivotal mistakes). When something doesn’t happen the way he planned it (Amidala beating the Trade Federation at Naboo, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan arriving to negotiate with the Trade Federation), Palpatine can adapt his plans accordingly – though these scenarios rarely happen (Ni), and Palpatine’s position gives him the opportunity for a heads-up before his plans are rendered irrelevant.
Author’s Note: Palpatine is one of those characters that almost everybody mistypes. The commonly accepted type for Palpatine is INTJ, but this typing poses a huge problem: Palpatine prefers to work through indirect means, manipulating people emotionally rather than using brute force or other more overt methods right off the bat.
An even more ridiculous typing sometimes assigned to Palpatine is ENTJ. However, upon meeting Luke, Palpatine urges Luke to strike him down. What self-respecting Te-dom would do that?