The ancient theory of humorism influenced medical thinking for over 2,000 years. Four substances in the body known as humours - blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile - were thought to control the health and temperament of every individual. Many of Shakespeare's best-known characters were influenced by the theory, including Falstaff, Hamlet and Lady Macbeth.
Blood. Phlegm. Black bile. Yellow bile. The theory of the four humours informed many of Shakespeare's best-known characters, including the phlegmatic Falstaff.
About the author
Nelly Ekström is a Visitor Experience Assistant, bringing the galleries and exhibitions to life.