I like typing fictional characters because they offer good examples for how the different types can show up in “real life.” This project, though, is mostly for fun. I’ve written posts typing Disney princesses and heroines. I’ve got a two part post on this blog typing Disney villains. Seems like it’s about time for the Disney princes and heroes to get their own posts as well.
There are so many Disney princes and heroes who could go on this list that I had to make some tough choices about who to include. My criteria are as follows: the characters appear in an animated Disney film, they’re human (sorry Simba, Tramp, and Pongo), they’re fairly popular/well-known, and I’ve seen the movie they star in. I’ve organized them alphabetically, then put half in this post and half in a second post that will come out on Wednesday.
I don’t like using stereotypes of any Myers-Briggs type as a basis for typing characters, but I’m afraid that’s what I’ve done in some of these descriptions. When the characters development doesn’t go really deep and we have just a few key characteristics to base our typing on, you have to try and match them with defining traits of a personality type. Unfortunately, sometimes that means relying on an overly simplistic view of each type. Just wanted to make that disclaimer before we dive into talking about Aladdin, the Beast, Prince Eric, Flynn Rider, Hercules, John Smith, Kristoff, Kuzco, and Li Shang.
Aladdin – ESTP
Like the typical ESTP, Aladdin is adventurous, clever, and live-in-the-moment. He has that Extroverted Sensing coordination I envy so much (as an INFJ with Se as my inferior function) which gives him an advantage in the athleticism required to evade capture by the guards. I’m sure that’s also the mental process which let him time things perfectly so a tower rolling down a snowy hill didn’t crush him.
I have some issues with David Keirsey’s type descriptions, but he does seem to capture the type of ESTP that Aladdin is. He describes this type as one that masterfully manipulates people. We see Aladdin doing that to Genie (“I never actually wished to get out of the cave”) and also when posing as a prince. Keirsey also identifies them with a hedonistic outlook because they “pursue pleasure of the senses” (Please Understand Me II, 34, 46, 64). Note Aladdin’s readiness to flirt with Jasmine the first time he sees her, trying to kiss the dream girls Genie creates in “Friend Like Me,” and flirting with the women watching his Prince Ali parade.
Long-term planing isn’t a strong suit for Se types. In fact, being faced with a certain future can feel stifling and trigger their inferior Introverted Intuition. We see this when Aladdin realizes marrying Jasmine means becoming Sultan, followed by him lashing out in anger at Genie for getting him into this mess. ESxP types tend to bounce-back from stress pretty quickly, though, and Aladdin doesn’t stay stuck in worry for very long. Soon, he’s back to taking decisive action to overthrow Jaffar and then to decide he can’t keep pretending to be something he’s not.
The Beast — INTJ
Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney film, but I’d never given much thought to the Beast’s personality type until I sat down to write this post. While researching, I found that no one agrees on what his best-fit type is. INFP, ISFP, ISTP, ESTJ, ISFJ, and ISTJ all showed up as guesses. But none of them seemed quite right, until I saw someone mention INTJ.
We’re looking for a type that (as a young, spoiled child) might slam the door on a beggar woman at his door. An NT type without positive influences teaching them otherwise might do just that, completely oblivious to social conventions that would require hospitality and so wrapped up in his own self that he didn’t empathize with her.
Next, we need a type who would convince themselves that they’re fundamentally unlovable and lock themselves away in their castle for over a decade instead of trying to break the curse. Anyone could do that, but it seems more likely (to me at least) in a type that has Sensing and Feeling low (and therefore immature/underdeveloped) on their function stack. Also, he’s probably an introvert, since he makes very little effort to engage with the outer world. He shuns society (even of the castle’s servants-turned-objects), lets the castle get run-down, and doesn’t care about his castle being attacked by hostile forces. And even though Intuitives usually focus on the future, an INTJ who is chronically stressed will see the outside world as hostile and the future as something they’d rather not deal with.
We’re also looking for a type who is fiercely loyal to and protective of those he cares about (something that’s definitely an INTJ trait, though not exclusive to them). Someone who reacts to developing feelings for someone by coming up with a plan for how to make her happy and asking for advice because he has no clue how to show someone you love them (TJ types say “I love you” by educating themselves about your likes and dislikes, protecting you, and choosing you). I’m sure a good argument could be made for the Beast being a different type, but I think INTJ seems as good a choice as any.
Eric — ISFP
FP types as hopeless romantics is a cliche, but in Eric’s case it’s true. His decision-making is led by his feelings and he believes in true love and won’t settle for less. Unlike FJ types, he doesn’t conform to society’s expectations but rather (as FP types tend to do) clings to his own internal values. This is the core aspect of his character, which is why we type him as an ISFP instead of an ESFP (who would have Fi as their co-pilot instead of dominant process).
As is typical with SP types, Eric thrives on physical experiences. His first lines in the film are about how much he’s drawn to the sensory experience of “salty sea air, the wind blowing in your face.” And he’s not just intellectually enamored with the sea — he actually is a sailor as well as a prince. He also displays well-developed sensory awareness in the final battle with Ursula.
With Introverted Intuition as his tertiary function, Eric has an idealistic side that’s not all that mature. He thinks this side of his personality is strong and that he’ll know the girl he’s in love with immediately, but it’s actually more of a blind spot for him. Similarly, his inferior function of Extroverted Thinking doesn’t show up strongly. In fact, he trips over facts and details that could have helped him figure our Ariel’s identity if he’d thought about it logically.
Flynn Rider — ENTP
More people type Flynn Rider, aka Eugene Fitzherbert, as an ESTP than ENTP. While I freely admit I sometimes have a hard time telling from outside observation whether someone is using Extroverted Sensing to experience the world or Extroverted Intuition to explore it (referencing Personality Hacker’s nicknames), I do think Flynn has more Intuitive than Sensing characteristics. His practicality and logic is tied to his Thinking side, not to him being grounded in the real world as a Sensing type.
Like all EP types, Flynn is highly adaptable to changing circumstances and can quickly modify his plans to accommodate exploring new options and deal with complications. One thing that leans me more toward the idea of him being an Intuitive is that Flynn described himself as a dreaming, idealistic child. Usually it’s our strongest function that shows up most when we’re children and this self-description points to Intuition as his primary function, not his inferior function. As an adult, Flynn seems to be the sort of person who tries something out just to see what happens (which is a bit more ENTP than ESTP). He also liked to focus on the future instead of the past and has done several things (like changing his name) to leave the past behind. This fits with having Introverted Sensing (which Personality Hacker calls “Memory”) as his inferior function.
Some also type Flynn as an FP type, but he strikes me as much more concerned with accurate information than with staying true to his authentic self. He makes decisions based on facts that he makes sense of in a very personal way, not so much on what feels right. It’s his tertiary Extroverted Feeling that kicks in when he’s trying to charm someone and when he decides to put Rapunzel’s life above his own.
Hercules — ESFJ
Of the few people I found talking about Hercules’ Myers-Briggs type online none of them agreed with each other. Is he a classic ESTP action hero? A sensitive IxFP trying to find his authentic place in the world? An INFJ with “Hercules Syndrome”? Or maybe an ESFJ driven by duty?
For me, typing Hercules as an SP type is off the table because the film makes it so clear that that physical coordination and sensory skills do NOT come naturally to Disney’s version of Hercules. He consistently struggles to control and use his strength and is very clumsy, knocking over buildings as a young man and even after extensive training still accidentally breaking statues. He also keeps rejecting the sensory pleasures that could have come along with being a hero, seeming very uncomfortable with the attention of his fans and rejecting Meg’s seduction attempts.
Thankfully for Hercules, as Phil says, being a hero is “a work of heart.” It’s about what’s inside and finding out where you belong. As a young man, Hercules goes to the temple of Zeus and prays, “I need to know — who am I?” Once he’s given an identity and a direction (to become a hero, regain his godhood, and join his family), Hercules responds enthusiastically. “I won’t let you down, Father,” he says, then flies away singing “I will face the world, fearless proud and strong / I will please the gods, I can go the distance / Till I found my hero’s welcome right where I belong.”
This emphasis on “who am I?” can seem like an FP type’s search for authenticity, but I read it more as an FJ type’s search for a group to belong with. Hercules defines himself by other people’s expectations. He also cares deeply about presenting himself in the correct way for each situation (definitely an Extroverted Feeling trait). When he addresses the centaur, he takes care to be polite and use the correct gender. He gets confused when Meg doesn’t play along with the Damsel In Distress trope, but quickly decides to rescue her anyway because that’s what heroes do and that’s how he’s being defined. Extroverted Feeling is also the function he uses to make decisions. When dealing with Hades, the only two factors he takes into consideration is that Meg is in danger and that other people could get hurt. He prioritizes Meg at first, but after seeing how much suffering that caused he leaves Meg while she’s dying to put the needs of the group over his personal feelings (though he does rescue her later, even planning to sacrifice himself to do it).
ESFJs use Introverted Sensing as their co-pilot function. Hercules uses lessons learned in the past to figure out what to do in the present (e.g. reciting Phil’s rules when in a fight). For their tertiary function, ESFJs have Extroverted Intuition. It’s not their strongest function, but it’s easy for them to access because it’s extroverted the same as their dominant function. For Hercules, it shows up as a dreamy side that’s convinced there must be more out there (e.g. “I Can Go The Distance” song). With Introverted Thinking as the weakest function in his stack, Hercules barrels into situations without thinking through his decisions.
John Smith — ESTP
ESTPs make great action heroes, and it’s no wonder that we see more than one on this chart. John Smith from Pocahontas is a great example of this type. Like other SPs, he excels at tasks that require any sort of sensory and/or physical skill. Extroverted Sensing is a perceiving, or learning, function and John Smith learns from immersing himself in the real world and experiencing what it has to offer first-hand. Another SP trait that he shares is the ability to quickly adapt to unexpected changes. He even adapts quickly to the idea that the “savages” he’s been tasked with protecting Jamestown from aren’t all that savage after all.
Like other types who use Introverted Thinking, John makes decisions based on what makes sense to him. He interprets facts for himself and doesn’t put much stock in what others tell him he should think. He’s independent minded and is far more concerned with what’s going on in his own mind than what other people think. He also has the charming quality that so many ExTP types get from tertiary Extroverted Feeling
Kristoff — ISTP
I had a really hard time deciding whether I think Kristoff from Frozen is an ISTP or an ISFP. For both these types, Extroverted Sensing is their co-pilot function and it’s the one most readily visible to outside observers.That he’s an SP type is made obvious by the way he observes, uses, and quickly adapts to his physical environment. He’s very comfortable living in the present moment and doesn’t care too much about the future as a general rule.
It’s often harder to figure out an introvert’s preferred function because it is, by definition, an internal process. One article that helped me was “Introverted Feeling (Fi) vs Introverted Thinking (Ti).” The main argument for Kirstoff as an ISFP comes from the fact that he’s “sensitive and sweet.” Other clues point more toward ISTP, though, so my guess is he’s just an example of a more caring than stereotypical TP type rather than an FP type (Thinking Feeling preference doesn’t actually determine to what extent you feel emotions).
Kristoff’s perspective on life is straightforward and fact-based. When making decisions, he doesn’t seem to ask, “How do I feel about this?’ nearly as much as he asks, “What makes sense to me?” When he does take feelings into consideration, his desires take a back-seat to other people’s concerns. This is much more a characteristic of Extroverted Feeling (an ISTP’s inferior function) than it is of Introverted Feeling. An ISTP’s Feeling function isn’t very strong, though, so when Kristoff uses it for decision making he ends up with the idea that he has to get Anna back to Hans rather than realizing she’s falling for him.
Kuzco — ESFP
Kuzco is the type often nicknamed “entertainer” or “performer,” which seems quite fitting for him. In the beginning of the film, he’s an extremely selfish example of a type using Extroverted Sensing that’s all about experiencing whatever he wants and Introverted Feeling that believes he’s the only thing that matters. There’s nothing in him that empathizes with other people, considers future consequences, or thinks though things logically.
During Kuzko’s initial panic at being turned into a lama we see him falling into the convoluted logic of seriously under developed tertiary Extroverted Thinking. As he becomes more stressed, he goes to his inferior Introverted Intuition which tells him all future possibilities are bad and makes him misinterpret the patterns he thinks he’s seeing that could explain what happened.
Since this is a good story, Kuzco doesn’t stay the same person he was when the film started. He grows and develops, and learns to adapt how he sees the world to include other people. He’s still a fun-loving guy, but how he finds ways to share the things he enjoys with others. And instead of being guided by a selfish version of Introverted Feeling, he goes through the painful process of reevaluating how he sees the world on a fundamental level and develops a new set of personal values.
Li Shang — ISTJ
Shang (like other introverts) leads with his introverted process. It’s his co-pilot that’s extroverted, and which is most visible to the world, so that’s where we’ll start. TJ types like Captain Li Shang use Extroverted Thinking as their preferred method for making decisions. This is a highly efficient mental process, and provides a great foundation for Shang as a military commander. He deals with issues in a logical, blunt, straightforward manner. He’s good at following and giving orders based on the facts of the situation as he understands them. This is also the side of his personality that was ready to set his emotions aside and execute Mulan for breaking the rules.
On the topic of executing Mulan, IxTJ types have Introverted Feeling as their tertiary function. This mental process is very much concerned with making decisions based on what feels right on a personal level. That’s why Mulan didn’t die at Shang’s hand — it would have violated his personal moral code to kill someone who’d just saved his life. With Feeling this low on his function stack and turned inward, he’s not very good at expressing his emotions outwardly, but he does feel things deeply.
Going back to his dominant mental function, we find evidence of Introverted Sensing in Shang’s adherence to proven tactics, traditions, and rules. SJ types learn new information by filtering it through facts they’ve already proven to be reliable. He’s not the type to make things up as he goes along or to come up with an innovative new way of doing things. As his father says, Shang was “number one in his class,” has “extensive knowledge of training techniques,” and “will do an excellent job” at his assignment. Shang relies on knowledge and learning passed down from those before him and the people in charge (other than Chi-Fu) have no doubt he’ll do exactly what’s expected of him.
What do you think? Would you type any of these men differently? Which is your favorite Disney hero? Let’s discuss!
Click here to read the second part of our discussions about Disney princes and heroes.