Whoosh! Issue 51 - December 2000


By Kate James
Content copyright (c) 2000 held by author
WHOOSH! Edition copyright (c) 2000 held by WHOOSH
1216 words


What's My Type? A Personality Profile of Xena


When your teeth have to be their whitest to lead those armies...

Xena takes charge in THE PRICE.

[01] The special effects, sword fights, Gab abs, and disclaimers are all good, but what keeps me watching XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS is the strong personality of the show's title character. Unlike Hercules, her former Action Pack teammate, Xena is a complex, flawed character. At the end of the day, she more often that not does the right thing, but sometimes it takes Gabrielle to convince her to do so. That Xena is an imperfect, human hero makes her all the more intriguing. Therefore, I thought it would be interesting to examine her personality according to the Jung-Meyers-Briggs typology in order to understand her better.

[02] The psychologist Carl Jung said that people could be classified using three measures: Extraversion/Introversion, Sensing/Intuition, and Thinking/Feeling. Isabel Briggs-Meyers expanded Jung's model with a fourth factor, Judging/Perceiving. Thus, there are sixteen categories into which all people fall. I took a seventy-question Meyers-Briggs test at the HumanMetrics site, answering as if I were Xena (see Appendix below). As I am not Xena, some of my answers may be inaccurate, however, based on the personality profile, I trust you will agree with the assessment of the Warrior Princess as an ENTJ: Extraverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Judging.

Xena the Field Marshal

[03] David Keirsey describes the ENTJ as a "field marshal." He writes:

Hardly more than two percent of the population, the ENTJs are bound to lead others, and from an early age they can be observed taking command of groups. In some cases, ENTJs simply find themselves in charge of groups.

[04] Thus, the warrior Cortese did not "make" Xena who she is, as he asserts in DEATH MASK (23/123). Xena was a born leader. After Cortese attacked Amphipolis, the young Xena convinced the villagers to fight back and mobilized them into an army. She did so with no formal military training in a society that did not encourage women to become warriors. Within a few years, she led one of the best armies in the world. Only her feelings for her son, Solan, caused her to abandon her zeal for her job, another characteristic of ENTJs.

[05] Although Xena has changed considerably since Corinth, her basic personality remains the same. Repeatedly, we see her organizing groups to fight evil and injustice. In THE PRICE (44/220), Xena quickly took charge of the Athenian fort besieged by the Horde. Although she saved many lives with her organizational skills (e.g., rationing food and water), and her ultimate defeat of the Horde's champion ended the siege, it was Gabrielle who saw that a mutual understanding between people was the key to a lasting peace.

[06] Because Thinking (not Feeling, which comes naturally to Gabrielle) dominates Xena's personality, she cannot empathize with the Horde. Also, the Judge in Xena was focused on making and executing a decision, rather than on making changes as new information presented itself. For instance, she did not recognize that the Horde captive was asking for water because she was too focused on obtaining military information from him.

Not So Fast, Xena

[07] Xena's tendency toward making hasty judgments worked to her detriment again in the fourth season's LOCKED UP AND TIED DOWN (75/417). In this case, Xena's feelings of guilt outweighed her analytical ability as she hastily allowed herself to be sent to prison for her crimes. She repeatedly overlooked important facts such as: (1) she can atone for her crime by doing good; (2) Thelassa may still be alive (which was confirmed at the end of the episode); (3) Gabrielle will never leave her; and (4) never leave home without your chakram. As an ENTJ, Xena does not listen to others' input easily. Witness her refusal to consider Gabrielle's arguments before allowing herself to be taken to Shark Island Prison.

[08] There have, however, been many times when Xena's quick decision-making ability has worked in her favor. As a Thinker, Xena knew that Hope was evil long before Gabrielle did. She was able to add up the clues, unburdened by compassion for the baby. In the fifth season's CHAKRAM (92/502), Xena's quick decision to meld the two chakrams allowed her to revert to her warrior self, even though it meant losing her chance to kill Ares. It is a choice that would have caused indecision for many people. As a leader, Xena was able to make it without hesitation.

Miss Manners She Ain't

Oh yeah?  Well I might be gettin' my own show in Australia!  Whaddya think of that?!

Xena and Pompey exchange words in WHEN IN ROME...

[09] ENTJs are characterized by their honest, direct, and demanding temperament. In other words, Xena is slightly lacking in the social graces. In WHEN IN ROME (62/316), Pompey asked her how she got the title of "Warrior Princess." Xena replied, "Because 'Caesar' was taken," and flamboyantly spat out a seed. The demanding part of her personality became apparent in the same episode when she involved Gabrielle in the plot to kidnap Crassus. (In the first season, Xena would have sent Gabrielle off to some nearby village). Even knowing that Gabrielle believed killing to be wrong, Xena put her in a situation that would likely result in Crassus' death.

[10] In the very first episode, SINS OF THE PAST (01/101), Xena made little attempt to disguise her contempt for Gabrielle. When Gabrielle hinted around at joining her, Xena replied, "Don't even think about following me. You don't want to make me mad, now, do you?" She did not seem interested that Gabrielle did not want to marry Perdicus. This early Xena was very rough around the edges.

[11] However, Xena has been developing the Feeler in herself the past few seasons. Compare her brush-off of Gabrielle to her treatment of Tara in Season Three. At first, Xena did not want Tara to accompany them, but she quickly softened when she realized that Tara wanted to turn her life around. Xena said to Gabrielle: "I was pretty wild. If somebody had given me a little guidance, then maybe I would have been better equipped to handle what lay ahead."


[12] There is no good or bad in personality types. ENTJs may be visionary leaders or ruthless rulers; both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Richard Nixon were ENTJs. Although Xena has abandoned her evil ways, her basic personality has remained the same. She now leads through the example of her moral character, rather than through force. The same weaknesses in her personality still exist. She just has learned to overcome them. As she matures, Xena is developing the other aspects of her identity, making her a better person. When the Warrior Princess is sixty, she will probably be even more fascinating than she is now! Let us hope she never gives up her chakram or leathers, though.

Appendix: The Test and Answers

If you would like to know more about how I did the test and the answers I chose, please e-mail me at Athena5217@aol.com.


Keirsey's Temperament and Character Web Site
Typelogic Home Page


A woman of mystery Kate James

A woman of mystery

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