War is many things. Violence, carnage, insanity, hell. From the doctors and nurses in charge of caring for the wounded to the generals, colonels, and majors running the show from behind the scenes, and especially the men at the front lines, it takes a lot to survive a war. Joseph Heller’s classic novel Catch-22, along with Hulu’s stunning adaptation, does an exquisite job of highlighting the personality types that thrive in a hostile environment like war, and those that do not. With the help of the Myers-Briggs Personality Index, let’s dive into these rich characters and find out how their varied personalities deal with the perils of war.
10 Scheisskopf: The Executive - ESTJ
As he rises through the ranks throughout Yossarian’s journey through World War 2, Scheisskopf is often viewed as an antagonist. It makes sense that a man like Scheisskopf would use his position and power to punish someone who had wronged him in his personal life. Viewers can easily recognize that while Scheisskopf may not be the type to break the rules, he’s certainly the type to use them for his own benefit. So when a man like Scheisskopf, who is rigid, structured, law-abiding, and ambitious, gets a chance to screw over the guy that slept with his wife, well...all is fair in love and war.
9 Doc Daneeka: The Defender - ISFJ
Throughout Catch-22, Doc Daneeka and the medical tent are consistently one of the most stable and supportive structures that Yossarian has to rely on. Doc Daneeka may not be out doing the bombing, fighting the enemy, or killing anyone, but he is constantly sewing up what’s left of the men that come back from those skirmishes. Daneeka has a mentality that allows him to stay calm in crisis situations. He also finds a place above a lot of the male bravado that viewers regularly watch the soldiers put on display. Daneeka isn’t out to prove anything; he’s simply trying to help.
8 McWatt: The Campaigner - ENFP
McWatt can often be viewed as the antithesis to Yossarian’s pessimism. While Yossarian spends his time dreading the circumstances in which he has found himself, McWatt is simply grateful to have made it this far and focused on the present. When McWatt is at war, he’s at war. When he’s made it back from a successful mission, he relishes in it. On the surface, McWatt isn’t worried about what has come to pass and what comes next. When someone is living entirely in the moment, that often means they don’t take the time to consider the consequences of their actions, which will later become fatal in McWatt’s case.
7 Major Major Major Major: The Mediator - INFP
Regardless of what he’s said about his father in the past, the old man may have had some idea of what he was doing when he names his child Major Major Major. While incredibly unsuited for his position, Major Major Major Major finds some way to tailor it around his personality. Major isn’t great with conflict. And while that may be an admirable trait elsewhere, in wartime it doesn’t work out too well. So while he stays away from Yossarian, harm, and interactions altogether, it’s often people like Yossarian who end up paying the price.
6 Major de Coverley: The Logistician - ISTJ
Major De Coverley may not be as forceful and intimidating as Scheiskoff, but make no mistake — he is the man keeping everything together. Before Yossarian’s fatal flick of the yarn, de Coverley was the man behind the scenes, the man making sure everything was running like a well-oiled American war machine. De Coverley is analytical, thoughtful, present, and able to manipulate many variables with ease. He is, however, only capable of running the war machine like a master if he is working off of the correct intel.
5 Nurse Duckett: The Defender - ISFJ
Much like Doc Daneeka, Nurse Duckett is an ISFJ. This personality is often drawn toward the medical field because they thrive when helping someone in need. It’s no coincidence that Duckett has found her way to the war. ISFJs often seek out a cause with which they can align themselves, after which they will continue fighting until their last breath. In this case, Yossarian was quite lucky that she chose the poor soldiers who were fighting the war, and not, say, marrying rich or something. At least not in this adaptation.
4 Colonel Cathcart: The Commander - ENTJ
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that, in a story about the horrors of World War 2, the antagonists would be found in the Nazis. However, in Catch-22, the antagonists are often found within the United States forces themselves. While Yossarian is simply trying to escape the war, it seems Colonel Cathcart is doing everything he can to keep as many of the men fighting for as long as possible. Cathcart is loud, domineering, abrasive, and is constantly found using force to exert his power over others.
3 Clevinger: The Consul - ESFJ
“I continually give you sound, lifesaving advice. I am helping you live. And you continue to recklessly operate on f--king principle,” Yossarian exerts. “To my dying day,” Clevinger replies before escaping the conversation on the back of a passing vehicle. This is really the only exchange anyone needs to understand exactly who Clevinger is. He abides by the rules. He listens when instructed. He is not simply obedient, he is loudly obedient. A good trait for someone with a career in the armed forces, but not necessarily a good trait for someone looking to stay alive.
2 Milo Minderbinder: The Entrepreneur - ESTP
Milo Minderbinder is perhaps the only person throughout the series who really understands what war is about. It’s not about the righteous versus the unrighteous. It’s not about the people who are dying or will die. It’s about one thing — wealth. Wealth is the safe, secluded treehouse high above the rest of the world, and war is the ladder. Minderbinder just fundamentally understands that life is what you make it. And for Minderbinder, life is just one long-term business deal. And this war, this great war, well, it’s just the next big deal.
1 Yossarian: The Debater - ENTP
Yossarian is an idea man through and through. His particular temperament may not be suited to war, but ENTPs are often seen — and more likely heard — working through the big questions that plague them. How is this war right? Why is it that we have to fight this fight? Are any of us ever going to make it out of this alive? Yossarian just can’t work these issues out himself, which is why he’s constantly found trying to get his colleagues to acknowledge how correct he is.