The four personality types
Sanguine indicates the personality of an individual with the temperament of blood, the season of spring (wet and hot), and the classical element of air. A person who is sanguine is generally light-hearted, funloving, a people person, loves to entertain, spontaneous, and confident. However they can be arrogant, cocky, and indulgent. He/She can be day-dreamy and off-task to the point of not accomplishing anything and can be impulsive, possibly acting on whims in an unpredictable fashion. This also describes the manic phase of a bipolar disorder. The humour of Sanguine is usually treated with leeches.
Choleric corresponds to the fluid of yellow bile, the season of summer (dry and hot), and the element of fire. A person who is choleric is a doer and a leader. They have a lot of ambition, energy, and passion, and try to instill it in others. They can dominate people of other temperaments, especially phlegmatic types. Many great charismatic military and political figures were cholerics. On the negative side, they are easily angered or bad-tempered.
A person described as ”bilious” is mean-spirited, suspicious, and angry. This, again, is an adaptation of the old humour theory ”choleric.”
The disease Cholera gained its name from choler (bile).
Melancholic is the personality of an individual characterized by black bile; hence (Greek μελας, melas, ”black”, + χολη, kholé, ”bile”); a person who was a thoughtful ponderer had a melancholic disposition. Often very kind and considerate, melancholics can be highly creative – as in poetry and art – but also can become overly pre-occupied with the tragedy and cruelty in the world, thus becoming depressed. The temperament is associated with the season of fall/autumn (dry and cold) and the element earth. A melancholic is also often a perfectionist, being very particular about what they want and how they want it in some cases. This often results in being unsatisfied with one’s own artistic or creative works and always pointing out to themselves what could and should be improved.
There is no bodily fluid corresponding to black bile; the medulla of the adrenal glands, which decomposes very rapidly after death, can be associated with it.
A phlegmatic person is calm and unemotional. Phlegmatic means ”pertaining to phlegm”, corresponds to the season of winter (wet and cold), and connotes the element of water.
While phlegmatics are generally self-content and kind, their shy personality can often inhibit enthusiasm in others and make themselves lazy and resistant to change. They are very consistent, relaxed, rational, curious, and observant, making them good administrators and diplomats. Like the sanguine personality, the phlegmatic has many friends. However the phlegmatic is more reliable and compassionate; these characteristics typically make the phlegmatic a more dependable friend.