The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Humours Table 1 Transparency - TCT

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THE CANTERBURY TALES – Chaucer’s Personality Profile

Physiognomy – a person’s physical appearance and the relationship between that physical appearance and a person’s personality and character (judging a person by his/her features).


  • red-headed = quick-tempered
  • buxom = jolly
  • broad forehead = intelligence, good breeding
  • very thin = stringy, bad-tempered
  • neat = proud
  • wearing red = aggressive
  • wearing black = melancholy
  • wearing blue = constant in love
  • wearing green = lightness in love, envy
  • gapped teeth = bold, aggressive, traveler, amorous
  • white neck = sign of licentiousness (promiscuousness)

Psychological Theory of Chaucer’s Time: Astrologybased. This theory gave the planets in a person’s horoscope at birth and their positions at different times in life.

Body Humors People in Chaucer’s time believed that four body humors(or moistures) were the source of disease and personality types, much like we think of glands and genes today. The body fluids, or humors, of which man is composed— blood, phlegm, choler (bile), and melancholy (black bile) with their “qualities” of hot, cold, dry, and moist— determined character and behavior.


  • “sanguine”
  • Blood
  • Hot and moist


  • “choleric”
  • Yellow bile
  • Hot and dry


  • “melancholy”
  • Black bile
  • Cold and dry


  • “phlegm”
  • Phlegm
  • Cold and moist

About this Document

This transparency is one of two that goes with The canterbury Tales Character Assignment/Unit I do with my seniors.