Follow TV Tropes


Four Temperament Ensemble / Literature

Go To

  • Simona Ahrnstedt does this in two of her novels.
    • In "Överenskommelser", we have Beatrice as the Sanguine, Seth as the Choleric, Sofia as the Phlegmatic and Johan as the Eclectic.
    • In ''De skandalösa", Magdalena as the Melancholic, Gabriel as the Sanguine, Venus as the Phlegmatic and Ossian as the Eclectic.
  • In The Anderssons by Solveig Olsson-Hultgren, you can see the four original Andersson sisters as this: Elin is the Choleric, Mandi is the Phlegmatic, Ida Sofia is the Melancholic and Greta is the Sanguine.
  • Advertisement:
  • A Christmas Carol: Ebenezer Scrooge (choleric), The Ghost of Jacob Marley (melancholic), The Ghost of Christmas Past (eclectic), The Ghost of Christmas Present & Tiny Tim (sanguine), Bob Cratchit & The Ghost of Christmas yet to come (phlegmatic).
  • A Clockwork Orange: Alex (melancholic), Dim (sanguine), Georgie (choleric), and Pete (phlegmatic).
  • American Gods: Shadow (phlegmatic), Mr. Wednesday (choleric), Czernobog (melancholic), and Mr. Nancy (sanguine).
  • In The Armadillo with No Heart, one of these is formed when the armadillo protagonist, Kuro, joins a group of three hedgehog bandits. Kuro is fearful, shy, and lacking in self-esteem (melancholic); Morty is a kind-hearted Gentle Giant who adopts a protective attitude towards Kuro (phlegmatic); Gus is playful and childlike (sanguine), and the group leader, Clyde, is rough and abrasive (choleric).
  • Advertisement:
  • The original four members of The Baby-Sitters Club: Kristy (choleric), Mary Anne (melancholic), Claudia (sanguine), and Stacey (phlegmatic).
  • The Bad Guys series has the five main members of "The Good Guys Club": Mr. Wolf, as the open to change leader that believes the others can become good (sanguine), Mr. Snake as the sarcastic doubter that still can't shake his evil side (choleric), Mr. Piranha as the realistic and dry member that's hiding obvious stress (melancholic), Mr. Shark as the threatening-looking, yet warm hearted and able to blend in with others (phlegmatic), and Legs, the optimistic tinkerer that doesn't let others' opinions effect him (eclectic).
  • The Bailey School Kids: Eddie (choleric), Liza (melancholic), Howie (phlegmatic), and Melody (sanguine).
  • In The Bible
    • The first five kings in David's dynasty: David (sanguine), Solomon (eclectic), Rehoboam (choleric), Abijah (phlegmatic), and Asa (melancholic).
    • Advertisement:
    • In Jesus' parable, the wealthy father (sanguine), his dutiful elder son (melancholic), and the prodigal son (choleric).
    • The Two Evangelist Duos from Acts: Paul (choleric), Mark (melancholic), Silas (phlegmatic), and Barnabas (sanguine).
  • In The Bridge of Clay, the Dunbar brothers: Matthew is eclectic — reasonable, responsible, not prone to any outbursts; Henry sanguine — most cheerful of the family, talkative and very good at haggling; Rory choleric - hard-working (that is, once he is expelled from school and gets "real" work), rude, loves drinking and brawling; Clay melancholic — introverted, emotional, talks very little; and Tommy phlegmatic — thoughtful, sympathetic and compassionate.
  • Chocolate: The Consuming Passion by Sandra Boynton divides chocolate lovers into four categories, mirroring this trope: The Pastoral Chocolatist ("Pensive, pleasant, somewhat shy" — phlegmatic), the Genteel Theobromian ("Affable leader, secretly cynical" — choleric), the Refined Palate ("Artistic, intellectual, reclusive" — melancholic) and the Sensuous Chocophile ("Moody, impulsive, self-indulgent" — sanguine).
  • The four Pevensie children in The Chronicles of Narnia: Peter (choleric), Edmund (melancholic), Susan (phlegmatic), and Lucy (sanguine).
  • Fallon Swift and her three half-brothers in Nora Roberts's The Chronicles of The One series:
  • There are multiple examples in Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic quartet and its follow-up books:
    • The four protagonists: Sandry (sanguine), Briar (melancholic), Daja (phlegmatic), and Tris (choleric)
    • Their four teachers, respectively: Lark (phlegmatic), Rosethorn (choleric), Frostpine (sanguine), and Niko (melancholic)
  • In the ColSec Trilogy, Fiery Redhead Nature Hero Cord (eclectic, leaning towards choleric); level-headed, empathic Wrench Wench Samella (phlegmatic), Tsundere Action Girl Heleth (pure choleric), Genki Boy Jeko (sanguine), and Deadpan Snarker Rontal (melancholic).
  • The (arguably) four best-known Dr. Seuss characters: the Cat in the Hat (sanguine), the Grinch (choleric), Horton (phlegmatic), and the Lorax (melancholic).
  • The core four of Ever World. April (sanguine), Christoper (choleric), David (melancholic), and Jalil (phlegmatic).
  • The main characters of The Fire-Us Trilogy fit into the ensemble, first in the original four-person arrangement, and later into the five-person setup.
    • The loud, headstrong, strings-the-little-kids-along-in-an-hour Angerman (sanguine).
    • The focused hardworker, taking on most of the physical work, is Hunter (choleric).
    • The devoter of almost all her time to studying and taking care of the Book, pragmatic with few people skills, is Teacher (melancholic, of course).
    • Phlegmatic Mommy is hugely loving and devoted to her friends, but unstable and sometimes very weak, psychologically.
    • Later, Cory takes on the role of eclectic when she joins the group.
  • 4 Kids in 5E & 1 Crazy Year: Destiny (Sanguine), Maximo (Choleric), Willie (Melancholic), and Giovanni (Phlegmatic).
  • The Great Gatsby: Jay Gatsby (eclectic), Tom Buchanan (choleric), Nick Carraway (phlegmatic), Jordan (melancholic), and Daisy (sanguine).
  • The Hannibal Lecter novels: Lecter himself and Clarice Starling (melancholic), Will Graham (choleric), and Jack Crawford (phlegmatic).
    • The Nazi looters who eat Lecter's sister: Grutas (choleric), Dortlich (sanguine), Kolnas (phlegmatic), Grentz (melancholic), and Milko (eclectic).
    • The Verger family in Hannibal: Mason (choleric), Margot (phlegmatic), and Molson (melancholic).
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • Choleric: Arthur
    • Melancholic: Marvin
    • Phlegmatic: Ford
    • Sanguine: Zaphod
    • Eclectic: Trillian
  • The D Squad in The Homework Machine: Kelsey (sanguine), Snik (choleric), Judy (melancholic), and Brenton (phlegmatic).
  • The Horus Heresy novels, set in an earlier era of Warhammer 40,000, toy with this openly with Warmaster Horus' inner advisory circle during the first few novels, consisting of Ezekyle Abaddon (choleric), "Little Horus" Aximand (melancholic), Tarik Torgaddon (sanguine), and Garviel Loken (phlegmatic).
  • In In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (a dramatization of the lives of the Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic), Maria Teresa "Mate" Mirabal (sanguine), Minerva Mirabal (choleric), Dede (melancholic), and Patria (phlegmatic).
  • The four boys in the camp plot of Jelly Belly: Protagonist Ned (melancholic), Richard (choleric), Hog (phlegmatic), and Max (sanguine).
  • The Borejko sisters in Jezycjada:
  • Bite Me of the Legends of Laconia series:
  • The 4 March sisters in Little Women: Meg (phlegmatic), Jo (choleric), Beth (melancholic), and Amy (sanguine).
  • Looking for Alaska: Pudge (phlegmatic), the Colonel (melancholic), Alaska (choleric), and Takumi (sanguine).
  • Lord of the Flies: Ralph (sanguine), Jack (choleric), Piggy (melancholic), and Simon (phlegmatic).
  • The Lords of Discipline: Will (melancholic), Tradd (phlegmatic), Pig (sanguine), and Mark (choleric).
  • In The McGurk Mysteries, the original four kids in the McGurk Detective Agency. Jack McGurk (choleric), Joey Rockaway (melancholic), Willie Sandowski (phlegmatic), and Wanda Grieg (sanguine).
  • The BCDC from Meddling Kids
    • Andy is extremely choleric with her Hair-Trigger Temper.
    • Kerri is melancholic, especially in her recurring episodes of depression, although she gets better with Andy's help.
    • Nate is, for the most part, phlegmatic (with his Spirit Advisor hallucination of Peter giving voice to the emotions he can't let himself feel).
    • Peter was apparently the sanguine one among the group when he was alive, and Nate's hallucination of him still acts this way, which makes his being Driven to Suicide that much more shocking to those who didn't know him well. His Suspiciously Similar Substitute, the gang's former bully Joey Krantz, acts much the same (partly because he was never around for any of the BSDC's childhood traumas).
  • Miss Prince
  • The Monkey Wrench Gang: Doc Sarvis (sanguine), Hayduke (choleric), Smith (melancholic), and Abbzug (phlegmatic).
  • On the Road: Sal Paradise (sanguine), Dean Moriarty (choleric), Carlo Marx (melancholic), and Marylou (phlegmatic).
  • Phantom's Reckoning 2: Yuki (melancholic), Kaori (phlegmatic), Shoji (sanguine with some choleric), and Tatsuya and Makoto (choleric).
  • In The Poisonwood Bible, the Price ladies minus Ruth May fit this: Rachel (sanguine), Leah (choleric), Adah (melancholic), and Orleanna (phlegmatic).
  • In Red Mars, psychologist Michel Duval slots the classical temperaments into his own psychological theory: Sanguine = Extroverted + Stabile; Choleric = Extroverted + Labile; Phlegmatic = Introverted + Stabile; Melancholic = Introverted + Labile.
  • The Roman Mysteries: This is actually explictly stated in the books, which is justified because it takes place during a time period when doctors still believed in the four humors.
  • The Saga Of Incredible Weirdness has Scotty (sanguine), Scarlett (choleric), Hobbes (melancholic), Geraldine (phlegmatic), and K (eclectic).
    • Also, the later books have the four eldest Marshall brothers: Joe Jr. (choleric), Jack (phlegmatic), Bobby (sanguine), and Ted (melancholic).
  • Sammy Keyes and her friends: Sammy (choleric), Dot (melancholic), Marissa (phlegmatic), and Holly (sanguine).
  • Carmen, Tibby, Bridget, and Lena spend their first summer apart in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Carmen snaps and gets mad (choleric) so she comes home expecting Tibby to understand because Tibby walks around screaming, "Screw the world" because that's easier than feeling something (melancholic). Carmen and Tibby visit Bridget who talks about her mother and she tells her friends that she just wants to feel good and happy and alive (sanguine). The last one to join them is Lena who feels so sad that people like Kostas and Bridget who have lost everything can still be open to love while she, who has lost nothing, is not (phlegmatic).
  • The four protagonists of Sleepers by Lorenzo Carcaterra: Michael (choleric), Tommy (melancholic), John (sanguine), and Shakes (phlegmatic). Interestingly, the four abusive guards at the reform school fit this paradigm rather neatly as well: Nokes (choleric), Styler (melancholic), Addison (sanguine), and Ferguson (phlegmatic).
A Song of Ice and Fire:
  • The four Compson children in The Sound and the Fury count. Caddy (sanguine), Jason (choleric), Quentin (melancholic), and Benjy (phlegmatic).
  • The four main characters in The Spectrum Game:
    • Sanguine: Azurine may be somewhat shy at times, but she’s otherwise the most bubbly member of the team. She is optimistic and has the best people skills, getting along with just about everyone she meets, but at times, she is rather scatterbrained and disorganized.
    • Choleric: Iago is only somewhat Hot-Blooded, but he would definitely be the most outgoing member. A Large Ham extraordinaire, Iago is very passionate despite being rather logical in nature, and can be somewhat condescending to some extent.
    • Melancholic: Inigo is calculating and methodical in most things he does. He keeps a stoic face at all times, and is incredibly blunt when talking to others. He easily functions as the group’s Superego, despite his ironic lack of knowledge pertaining to anything useful.
    • Phlegmatic: Silas is, without a doubt, the most chill member of the team, being casual and laidback. He is kind and humble, and second only to Azurine in regards to people skills. However, he can also be stubborn, and is somewhat indecisive and reliant on others at times.
  • Tale of the Troika: not the protagonists, but the members of the Troika: Vunyukov (phlegmatic), Farfurkis (melancholic), Khlebovvodov (choleric), Vybegallo (sanguine).
  • Done deliberately by Émile Zola as a character study in Thérèse Raquin. Laurent (sanguine), Mme. Raquin (choleric), Camille (phlegmatic), and Thérèse (melancholic).
  • From The Tillerman Family Series: Dicey (choleric), James (phlegmatic), Maybeth (melancholic), Sammy (sanguine).
  • Warrior Cats has the following:
    • Dovewing (Sanguine).
    • Lionblaze (Choleric).
    • Jayfeather (Melancholic).
    • Ivypool (Phlegmatic).
  • In Todd Strasser’s Wildlife trilogy, boy howdy are the Coming Attractions a textbook example: Gary (choleric), Susan (phlegmatic), Oscar (sanguine), and Karl (melancholic).
  • The main cast of mercenary nobles in The Traitor Son Cycle:

    • The Captain: melancholic (reserved and brooding, but attentive to details);
    • Bad Tom: choleric (bloodthirsty and quick tempered);
    • Sauce: sanguine (snarky but cheerful and a bit flirty);
    • Michael: phlegmatic (rational, calm, generally good natured).
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: Scarecrow (choleric), Nick Chopper/The Tin Woodsman (melancholic), Lion (sanguine), and Dorothy (phlegmatic).


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: