Function Stack: Se-Fi-Te-Ni
“The world is changing, and I refuse to be a part of yours.”— Phillip Carlyle, The Greatest Showman
Philip is a realist in contrast with Barnum’s unabashed idealism, who points out to Barnum that he has a good thing going and should not leave to go on tour with Jenny Lind, because “people come to see you… and your crazy ideas.” He is an opportunist of the highest level, who sees a chance to leave his deadbeat job as a play producer and make it big with an up-and-coming celebrity circus troupe, and who negotiates terms favorable to himself. When the circus falls on hard times with bad reviews, Philip immediately uses his connections to get them a meeting with Queen Victoria, stating that if you want society to accept you, you must start from the top down, rather than the bottom up. He meets Annie and is star-struck and smitten from that moment on, but also aware of potentially being ostracized; he objects to Barnum treating his circus performers as second-class acts and sticking them in the nosebleed section of the theater, and chooses to go stand with them even though he could sit in the box (this also allows him to hold Annie’s hand). He tells off his father for insulting her (calling her “the help”) and then tries to persuade her that together, they can “rewrite the stars.” Barnum has shown him that anything is possible if you just reach for it and believe. When he thinks Annie is still inside the burning theater, Philip rushes in there to save her without any proof of her whereabouts. He also shows strong Te – he shoots down Barnum’s ambitious tour notions with hard facts (these theaters make you pay for the seats up front, which could financially ruin you if the tour does not go well). He talks about bottom lines and financial windfalls. He also has a sense of appropriateness on a social level, telling Barnum they cannot just approach Jenny Lind without a proper invitation at court (these things are not “done”), and at first being rebuffed by the idea of a circus (it will cause him to lose his standing in society and will lose him his inheritance), but then sensing potential there (Barnum is becoming successful) and negotiating tough terms for his benefit. He wants a percentage of the profit. His business sense allows them to continue the show after the devastating fire, because he took his cut weekly out of a general distrust for Barnum’s reliability and has a lot of money to reinvest in the circus—and this time, he wants to be a partner.
Enneagram: 3w4 so/sp
Philip is forever calculating how they can maintain their profit margin. He points out that there are certain behaviors they must adhere to, in upper society, and doesn’t want to join the circus at first because it would close a bunch of societal doors to him because he’s now “picking up peanut shells.” But he also sees a potential for fame and profit in the venture, so he takes it on. Philip is willing to work hard, but also has a tendency to think heavily about how things “look.” He has an undeniable knack for publicity, and manages to save their reputation by arranging a visit to Queen Victoria (he says if you want acceptance into society, start at the top). Barnum’s public behavior at the queen’s court makes him cringe, because he is not observing the proper protocols. He so fears the disapproval and scorn of his parents, at first he doesn’t want them to see him holding the hand of the woman he loves. Philip struggles between what his heart wants and what society might think, but he is also able to look within himself and pursue his internal emotions in a way that means living as ‘true’ to himself. Philip has a bit of an elitist streak; he looks down on Barnum at first for the grunt work of being in the circus, but once he comes to know and care about these people, he uses his elitism and high society connections to benefit them all.