Fictional MBTI – Tony Stark (ENTP)

On my list of potential blog topics (which I recently lost — the horror!), I had a note that said “Superhero MBTI types from the MCU.” I’ve written about Captain America as an ISFJ and about Loki’s more controversial personality, so I thought we’d continue with that until I come up with a new list of topics (any suggestions?) or read another book from my Classics Club.Fictional MBTI - Tony Stark (ENTP) | marissabaker.wordpress.com

I’ve seen Iron Man from the comics typed as an ENTJ or ESTP, but most people agree that in the Tony Stark portrayed by Robert Downey Jr. in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe is an ENTP. David Keirsey called this type “The Inventor.” While I often think Keirsey’s type descriptions are too stereotypical, it does fit Tony Stark.

It is so natural for ENTPs to practice devising ingenious gadgets and mechanisms that they start doing it even as young children. And these Inventors get such a kick out of it that they really never stop exercising their inventive talent, though in the workplace they will turn their technological ingenuity to many kinds of systems, social as well as physical and mechanical.

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Fictional MBTI – Cinderella (ISFJ)

I had two Myers-Briggs-related thoughts while watching Disney’s new live-action Cinderella last Sunday. 1) she’s a perfect example of an ISFJ, and 2) she’s a perfect example of why people mistake ISFJs for INFJs and vice versa.

Usually when we talk about fictional ISFJs we talk about men — Samwise Gamgee, John Watson, Steve Rodgers … and they are all very good examples of ISFJs in fiction. But in real life, ISFJ women outnumber ISFJ men, so it seems odd not to have a woman on the list of famous fictional ISFJs. I think Cinderella is a great example of an ISFJ, and here’s why.

Why ISFJ?

Fictional MBTI - Cinderella (ISFJ) marissabaker.wordpress.comCinderella, like other ISFJs, leads with a process called Introverted Sensing (Si). Dr. A.J. Drenth considers it one of the “least understood of the eight Myers-Briggs functions,” and David Keirsey chategorized them with the Guardian types (SJs). All Guardians use Si as their their first or second function.

They are more concerned with ensuring their beliefs and behaviors are consistent with an existing standard than they are in formulating their own set of standards. In many ways, they are dependent on what has already been already been tried and established, systems of thought that grant them a sense of consistency and security. –Dr. Drenth

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Ficitonal MBTI – Sherlock Holmes (INTP)

In the world of fictional typology, Sherlock Holmes is typically cited either as the perfect example of an INTP or as a notoriously difficult charter to type. Some writers say this difficulty is because the character displays aspects of several different types (including INTJ and ISTP) due to the writers’ ignorance of Myers-Briggs theory.

While this may be partly true, I think we can pin-down a single best-fit type for most portrayals of Sherlock Holmes in film and television (I’m not covering the original stories in this post). Rather than showing several different personality types, the different portrayals of Sherlock Holmes show how much variation there can be within a single personality type.Ficitonal MBTI - Sherlock Holmes (INTP) | marissabaker.wordpress.com

INTP Traits

The personality type that fits most film and movie portrayals of Sherlock best is INTP. The function stack for this type is this:

  1. Introverted Thinking (Ti)
  2. Extroverted Intuition (Ne)
  3. Introverted Sensing (Si)
  4. Extroverted Feeling (Fe)

This means that Sherlock first approaches the world with a judging attitude that is focused inward and relies on impersonal analysis. Ti prefers to internalize observations and work with abstract ideas. It “values facts chiefly as illustrative proofs of the idea,” and rejects things that seem irrelevant (Myers, Gifts Differing, p.78). This would explain why BBC’s Sherlock didn’t bother to remember that the earth goes around the sun. Read more

Fictional MBTI – Steve Rogers (ISFJ)

This was requested in the comments on Fictional MBTI – Loki, and since I went to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier on Friday it seemed a good time to write a post about Steve Rogers/Captain America. Incidentally, I will reference Winter Soldier in this post but will try to keep it spoiler-free. If you don’t want to know anything about the plot, though, go watch the film and then come back 🙂Fictional MBTI - Steve Rogers. Captain America is an ISFJ. marissabaker.wordpress.com

Disclaimer: some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click on the link and make a purchase on that website.

In support of typing Steve as an ISFJ, I’ll be citing quotes from Captain America, The Winter Soldier, Gifts Differing* by Isabel Myers, and Was That Really Me?* by Naomi L. Quenk.

Introverted Sensing

Isabel Myers describes the Introverted Sensing (Si) types – both ISFJ and ISTJ — as “remarkably dependable … they base their ideas on a deep, solid accumulation of stored impressions, which gives them some almost unshakable ideas” (102). For Steve Rogers, this resulted in the attitude that earned him consideration in Dr. Abraham Erskine’s experiment — “I don’t want to kill anyone. I don’t like bullies; I don’t care where they’re from” (Captain America). The same deeply rooted ideas that form his character also gave Steve the conviction to stand-up to Nick Fury when asked to compromise his values to create a “safe” world — “This isn’t freedom; it’s fear” (Winter Soldier). Read more

Fictional MBTI — Loki

Update: Click here for a newer post about Loki with a more complete type analysis.

Over the past couple weeks, without even looking for them, I’ve stumbled upon two blogs talking about Myers-Briggs types for fictional characters. One is a Tumbler called MBTI in Fiction. The other is a blog titled A Little Bit of Personality, with a series of posts analyzing heroic archetypes.

I’ve been intrigued by the characters each of these writers choose to type as INFJs. Neither of these writer’s are INFJs themselves (the writer from “MBTI in Fiction” is an ENTJ and the writer of “A Little Bit of Personality” is an ENTP), and it’s interesting to see who non-INFJs think are INFJs. I don’t always agree with them, but it’s interesting.

Loki

Fictional INFJs -- Loki. marissabaker.wordpress.comThis was the first post I saw from MBTI in Fiction. My initial reaction was, “There’s no way Loki and I have the same personality type.” But I agree that he’s an introvert, and I don’t think he’s logical or grounded enough to be either an S or a T type, so that leaves us with INFJ or INFP. (Some people type him as an INTJ Mastermind, but he seems to rely on Extroverted Feeling more than Extroverted Thinking as a function).

Both INFJs and INFPs feel everything very deeply and trust their intuition. However, INFPs tend to keep their emotions to themselves, though feelings will inform all their actions. Outwardly, they appear “receptive and non-judgmental.” INFJs prefer to approach the world through Introverted Intuition (Ni), followed by Extroverted Feeling (Fe). They are the rarest type, often question their sanity,  rely strongly on their intuitions about people, and tend to talk about their feelings. Dr. A.J. Drenth’s profile includes this descriptions, which I think sounds a lot like Loki (as played by Tom Hiddleston in The Avengers):

INFJs are far less serious inwardly than they may appear outwardly. Their inner world is well described as playful, imaginative, colorful, mischievous, and daring. Characterized by Perceiving rather than Judging, it is far less controlled and regulated than that of INFPs. INFJs love playing with ideas, perspectives, theories, images, symbols, and metaphors.

Another reason I’ve been won-over to typing Loki as an INFJ is because of the description of INFJ villains on A Little Bit of Personality’s page. It really does sound like Loki, and the last line hits a little too close to home for me to brush this analysis off as written by someone who just doesn’t understand INFJs.

When turned to villainy, the INFJ is *creepy*! There isn’t really any other word for it. Dark Paladins are the best of manipulators because they are incredibly intuitive about people and can apply their mild-manneredness to going under the radar as long as they need to, manipulating others who would never suspect them. Because they are so good at this and *know* it, pure-hearted INFJ’s often wonder if they are secretly evil and manipulative at heart, like one day they’ll wake up and realize they were bad all along.

Future Posts?

I was planning on covering several characters, but after I started writing Loki I decided one would be enough for a single post. Maybe I’ll write more at some other time, if anyone is interested. Are there any characters you’ve been thinking are INFJs? Would you be interested in me typing non-INFJ characters?

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Writing Heroines

Last week, I wrote a post about the eight hero archetypes listed in The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master ArchetypesI’ve used this book extensively since I discovered it in the library, and I’ve found it a great help in crafting dynamic characters. Characters I wrote before reading it even fit in the archetypes, which I’m taking as a sign that I was on the right track with character development. For these characters, the descriptions have helped me edit them to be stronger and more consistent.

If you’re a writer and you can find a copy of the book, I highly recommend using it. If not, here’s a brief overview of each description for the eight female archetypes. All the quotes below are from the descriptions in the book.

Heroine Archetypes

Heroine ArchetypesThe Boss

This is a strong, tough character who wants to win at all costs. Typically, such a character always got her own way growing up and wants that to continue. “She will shade the truth in order to gain her objective and she is not above manipulating circumstances to make things go her way.”

The Seductress

Assertive, strong, and clever, this type of character learned at a young age she could charm people into doing what she wanted. She is cynical, driven, manipulative. “Her true desires and motives are carefully concealed behind a sensual smile. Knowledge is power, so she makes sure no one knows her” and instinctively distrusts people.

The Spunky Kid

This is the “heroine underdog.” She has a sense of humor and is reliable, supportive, unassuming, and skeptical. Sometimes, she “hides behind her sarcastic wit, and her lack of confidence may make her play down her best attributes, but she is spirited, cheerful and the most loyal of friends.”

The Free Spirit

Sincere, upbeat, and imaginative, this type of character can also be impulsive, meddling, and undisciplined. They have a strong sense of individuality and never plan anything, but always seem to land on their feet.  She is a natural entertainer, and “may be a handful for anyone who has to deal with her, but she makes the experience worthwhile in her zany, high-spirited way.”

The Waif

This character is trusting, easily influenced, kind, and insecure. She inspires others to want to save her, and is generally content to let herself be rescued. “Her delicate fragility makes her an easy target … [and] she adapts to any situation she falls into without complaint.” You’re far less likely to see her in fiction of today than the other archetypes, but that does not mean she should be avoided.

There is something refreshing about a heroine who does not talk back or fight every battle, but rather, allows a man to be a man and believes that if left well enough alone, situations will resolve themselves.

The Librarian

This type of character likes to organize everything. She is efficient, serious, dependable, rigid, repressed, and a perfectionist. She assumes she has all the answers and, “more often than not, she is right, but she can be a bit stubborn about considering other opinions.” She is also portrayed as having a passionate side when she “lets her hair down.”

The Crusader

“This is a heroine in the truest sense — deeds of valor are right up her alley.” She is courageous, resolute, and persuasive. Her flaws include obstinacy, rashness, and being outspokenly opinionated. She wants to set the word straight and “has no faith in the intrinsic merit of human nature; no belief that all will end well if left alone.”

The Nurturer

A character of this type needs to be needed. She is optimistic, capable, idealistic, self-sacrificing, and willing to compromise so she won’t hurt anyone’s feelings. Before thinking of herself, “she makes sure that all her loved ones are happy and content … Her serene, capable and patient manner invariably soothes troubled souls or hurting hearts.”

Writing Characters

There are three approaches to using these archetypes to create characters. A character could be a “core archetype,” fitting into a singe archetype and remaining consistent through the course of the story. Characters can also evolve, changing from one archetype to another because of the events of the story. Layered characters have elements of two archetypes, which may take turns being dominant but will not change over the course of the story.

An example of evolving archetypes is the Beast in Beauty and the Beast, who changes from a Lost Soul into a Chief as a result of Belle’s nurturing character. Layered characters include MacGyver (Warrior and Professor), Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady (Waif and Spunky Kid), and Princess Leia (Boss and Crusader).

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these character types, and that it sparks an idea for your own writing (or at least provided some interesting reading while procrastinating from writing 😉 ).