The last post covered the Sanguine personality and temperament. This week you will learn more detail on the Choleric Temperament. Though many personality studies have been occurred over the years, but one that has lasted is the Greco-Roman theory of the Four Temperaments as described below. More modern versions have basically been created with this theory in mind. Each week I will post on one of these temperaments define as a proto-psychological interpretation of the ancient medical concept of humorism and suggests that four bodily fluids affect human personality traits and behaviors. Hippocrates believed certain human moods, emotions and behaviors were caused by body fluids (called “humors”). The four temperaments are sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (analytical and thoughtful), and phlegmatic (relaxed and quiet) and help develop the personality and attitudes of characters.

 The choleric temperament is fundamentally ambitious and leader-like. They have a lot of aggression, energy, and/or passion, and try to instill that in others. They are task oriented people and are focused on getting a job done efficiently; their motto is usually “do it now.”  They can dominate people of other temperaments with their strong wills, especially phlegmatic types, and can become dictatorial or tyrannical. Many great charismatic military and political figures were cholerics. They like to be in charge of everything and are good at planning, as they can often immediately see a practical solution to a problem. However, they can quickly fall into deep depression or moodiness when failures or setbacks befall them. They have been called “task-oriented extroverts.”

Along with the short definition, the Choleric Strengths and weaknesses will be covered in the areas of: Emotions, Parenting, Work, and Friendship. Using this theory as a tool in creating characterization will provide you with some unique fodder as you develop the character’s personality, interests and lifestyle. I hope you find it interesting and helpful. The other two temperaments will be covered in the next two weeks.

Choleric: The Extrovert | The Doer | The Optimist

1. The Choleric’s Emotions
* Born leader
* Dynamic and active
* Compulsive need for change
* Must correct wrongs
* Strong-willed and decisive
* Unemotional
* Not easily discouraged
* Independent and self sufficient
* Exudes confidence
* Can run anything

2. The Choleric As A Parent
* Exerts sound leadership* Establishes Goals
* Motivates family to action
* Knows the right answer
* Organizes household

3 The Choleric At Work
* Goal oriented
* Sees the whole picture
* Organizes well
* Seeks practical solutions
* Moves quickly to action
* Delegates work
* Insists on production
* Makes the goal
* Stimulates activity
* Thrives on opposition

4. The Choleric As a Friend
* Has little need for friends
* Will work for group activity
* Will lead and organize
* Is usually right
* Excels in emergencies


1. The Choleric’s Emotions
* Bossy
* Impatient
* Quick-tempered
* Can’t Relax
* Too impetuous
* Enjoys controversy and arguments
* Won’t give up when loosing
* Comes on too strong
* Inflexible
* Is not complimentary
* Dislikes tears and emotions
* Is unsympathetic

2 The Choleric As A Parent
* Tends to over dominate
* Too busy for family
* Gives answers too quickly
* Impatient with poor performance
* Won’t let children relax* May send them into depression

3. The Choleric At Work
* Little tolerance for mistakes
* Doesn’t analyze details
* Bored by trivia
* May make rash decisions
* May be rude or tactless
* Manipulates people
* Demanding of others
* End justifies the means
* Work may become his god
* Demands loyalty in the ranks

4. The Choleric As a Friend
* Tends to use people
* Dominates others
* Knows everything
* Decides for others
* Can do everything better
* Is to independent
* Possessive of friends and mate
* Can’t say, “I’m Sorry”
* May be right, but unpopular

Again, as you develop characters, look at the various types of personalities, and find one that will work best for each main character in your novel.  Notice that putting two different personality temperaments together can result in dynamic conflicts that will help bring your novel to life and drive it forward.

The next post will give more information on the Temperament of Melancholic considered analytical and thoughtful.


Leave a comment
  1. Jill Weatherholt September 4, 2013 at 7:40 am #

    I love this series, Gail! Your detailed breakdown of personality temperaments is so helpful for character development. Years ago, I had a boss with a choleric temperament. I’ll just say, I’m glad he’s not my boss any longer. 🙂

  2. David January 6, 2019 at 6:06 pm #

    Great information. Can we then say cholerics are social misfits? for lack of a better term.

  3. Josephvub April 8, 2019 at 8:53 am #

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