Henry IV: ISTJ

Henry IV / Richard II, William Shakespeare

Henry IV ISTJ |The Hollow Crown MBTI

Dominant Si: Throughout each of the plays, his principle priority is is on noticing and devising means for creating order and maintaining healthy traditions within the state He sees Richard’s rule as a hindrance to England’s situation and reputation and acts to remove him. This is also what puts such tremendous stress on him as an older man, because he cannot get past his son Harry’s disregard for tradition and law. He understands that if Hal continues to live wildly, England will have no heir to the throne, and his line will not continue, and his stress stems from the fact that he sees no way to solve this problem. He compares his every decision to past (baggage from wronging Richard), present, (conflicts with Hotspur/Percy) and future (Hal’s inheritance). Because he is so invested in predicting the future (though he isn’t necessarily always accurate), he dislikes surprises and so the uncertainty that Hal’s future brings to the equation is extremely trying to his patience.

Henry IV ISTJ |The Hollow Crown MBTI

Auxiliary Te: In his younger days Henry Bolingbroke is full of ambition, and uses his ability to strategize to usurp the throne from Richard III. Henry IV strategizes long term and then goes after what he wants with total precision, and in this he is differs greatly from his son (who prefers to improvise). He wants everything to be in order (yet another reason for his frustration with Hal) and tends to believe that his method is best. He can organize his time to accomplish anything, but grows frustrated by the fact that others often do not share this talent. He has good control over his impulses and never jumps into action before thinking through his decision in detail. He is direct in his communication with others and does not hesitate to offer criticisms when their behavior is not measuring up to his standards. He is comfortable delegating tasks when he is aware that he has too much on his plate, but also seeks political counsel from his advisors –the few to whom he is loyal.

Henry IV ISTJ |The Hollow Crown MBTI

Tertiary Fi: Henry IV’s Fi is not heavily developed, and as a result, he has difficulty understanding and relating to other people (especially his son, Hal). He is well aware of how he feels about things, but doesn’t always stop to consider Hal’s point of view. He even mentions a believe that God has sent him this hooligan-of-a-son as punishment for his wrongdoings –not to mention how often he wishes out loud that Hotspur had been his son and not Harry. He has a strong desire for his life to end with his responsibilities and moral obligations filled (i.e. the kingdom must have a good king to rule after him). He acts according to his own feelings without consulting anyone, but he does consider the impact his choices will have on others.

Henry IV ISTJ |The Hollow Crown MBTI

Inferior Ne: Henry IV’s limited intuition feeds him hints about people’s motives, allowing him to suspect when others are betraying him. He is startlingly wrong in many of his assumptions about people, particularly about his son (…Hal).When he gets stressed out, he tends to catastrophize so that he sees all the possibilities of what could go wrong as definite ends, while being incapable of seeing any good outcomes. When faced with stress and fatigue, Henry becomes paranoid about the present, enough so that he begins to sleep with his crown for fear that the throne will be swept from under his feet in the night.


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