Shakespeare and the Four Humours – Conquering A2 Exams
In their pure state the elements were immortal, but when tampered with, Different humours could be combined for more complex personality. Temperament theory has its roots in the ancient four humors theory. In the ideal personality, the complementary characteristics or warm-cool and dry-moist were with a different factor, which would determine relationship/task-orientation. A man with a bearded sitting with a book on his lap and a bag in The four bodily humors were part of Shakespearean cosmology, inherited . we would call personality) was literally a matter of temperature—the result of the.
Personality Type Theory
It may have origins in ancient Egypt  or Mesopotamia but it was the Greek physician Hippocrates — BC who developed it into a medical theory.
He believed certain human moods, emotions and behaviors were caused by an excess or lack of body fluids called "humors": Next, Galen AD — c. The word "temperament" itself comes from Latin "temperare", "to mix". In the ideal personality, the complementary characteristics or warm-cool and dry-moist were exquisitely balanced.
In four less ideal types, one of the four qualities was dominant over all the others. In the remaining four types, one pair of qualities dominated the complementary pair; for example, warm and moist dominated cool and dry. These latter four were the temperamental categories Galen named "sanguine", "choleric", "melancholic" and "phlegmatic" after the bodily humors, respectively.
Each was the result of an excess of one of the humors that produced, in turn, the imbalance in paired qualities.
Hans Eysenck — was one of the first psychologists to analyze personality differences using a psycho- statistical method factor analysisand his research led him to believe that temperament is biologically based. Their humour is called Melancholic, and its qualities are cold and dry, representing the earth.
Characteristics include being introspective, sallow, thin compare Richard II, Hamlet.
- Four temperaments
Different humours could be combined for more complex personality types: Desdemona is sure that the sun of Africa baked out any humours that could have made Othello a jealous man.
Hamlet The melancholy temperament abounds throughout Elizabethan literature. In early modern England, a melancholy temperament carried serious implications.
Shakespeare and the Four Humours
In Hamlet, the titular character constantly broods throughout his tragedy, wracked with grief from the recent death of his father, the recent remarriage of his mother to his uncle, and his tumultuous love affair with Ophelia. The other characters call him mad, and struggle to uncover the cause of his illness.
Hamlet worries, second-guesses, and questions everything, ultimately destroying himself and those around him. While Shakespeare often made reference to the governing organ of humoral fluids, he makes only one reference to the spleen in Hamlet.
In this sole reference to the spleen, Hamlet refers to choler rather than melancholy, insisting that he is not ruled by fiery passion like Laertes. Interestingly, although Shakespeare makes countless textual allusions to the humors throughout his plays, he refrains from linking the spleen to melancholy.
Rather, as Hoeniger asserts, Shakespeare links the spleen to other humors to demonstrate a functioning spleen that absorbs excessive black bile The melancholy temperament arises from the element earth.
Dry and cold, a surplus of earth causes slow, heavy movement in its host Anderson If this number seems insignificant, we must remember that Shakespeare chose his words carefully and deliberately.
To prove that usage of the word was not common, I will point out that The Taming of the Shrew uses the word only once. Thus the text offers clues to the melancholy temperament of its protagonist. Often, characters in the play make references stressing the distance between heaven and earth. While Hamlet is alive, he is ruled by melancholy; he is ruled by the element earth while he walks the earth. This melancholy prevents him from the decisive action to which he has been called by the ghost of his father.
The melancholy temperament is often associated with both Saturn and the moon. However, Hamlet does not heed this warning, and is thrown into a sea of melancholy. The Player perplexes Hamlet. The Player King is not the sole foil to the melancholy prince.
Although the wicked Claudius possesses enough choler to kill his brother the King to claim the crown, he also may exhibit some phlegmatic qualities. Here, unlike Hamlet, Laertes rejects conscience, God, the afterlife—everything.
Even as the melancholy type is the most referenced temperament, it is also the most frequently mentioned mental illness in Elizabethan literature Overholser