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But one weak link can break the chain of a mighty dynasty!
~ Pharaoh Seti I to Rameses.
Oh my son, they were only slaves.
~ Pharaoh Seti I to his adopted son Moses (also his last words).

Pharaoh Seti I is the posthumous antagonist of DreamWorks's 2nd full-length animated feature film, The Prince of Egypt. He is the husband of Tuya, the father of Rameses, and the adoptive father of Moses (the protagonist of the film). Although he is not an active antagonist for much of the film, it was his actions that would cause much of what occurred in the story. 

He was voiced by Patrick Stewart, who also played King Goobot in Nickelodeon's Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, and Avery Bullock in American Dad!.

Personality

Pharaoh Seti I is initially seen to be a wise, clever, positive and empathetic ruler, but is shown to be quite ruthless, demanding, monotonous, argumentative and power-hungry. He was willing to have every Hebrew baby boy killed because they were "only slaves", though he admitted that he did it out of fear that the Hebrews might one day rise in numbers and power to start a rebellion that will threaten the dynasty.

However, despite his stern and cold behavior towards his fellow subjects, Seti genuinely loves and cares for his family, as he agreed to his wife's proposal to adopt Moses and appointed Rameses as High Regent. He even tried to comfort Moses over his responsibility behind the massacre, implying a sense of guilt.

History

Little is known of Pharaoh Seti or his reign before he committed the act that would forever immortalize him as a monster. Fearing that the enslaved Hebrews were growing too numerous and might rebel against him, he ordered a mass execution of all male infants born to the Hebrews, having his army invade Hebrew homes and kidnap the male infants from their terrified mothers and tossing them into the river Nile. That decision would haunt for the rest of life.

However, one Hebrew woman named Yocheved managed to sent her infant son adrift on the river Nile using a small basket to escape the massacre. After a perilous journey, the infant would reach the royal palace where Seti's wife Queen Tuya picked him up and took him under her wings. By that time, Seti and Tuya had already had a son named Rameses, and despite his previous aggression towards the Hebrews, Seti willingly agreed to Tuya's proposal to adopt the child and named him Moses (most likely being unaware of his true heritage).

Years later, Seti is shown to be a stern leader, even to his own sons - though he is especially harsh towards Rameses, due to him being the heir to the throne. However, he was also shown to have a softer side, though he tried his best not to show it. In Seti's defense, many rulers before him of that period did the same, being raised from birth to believe they were incarnations of gods, particularly Osiris and his son Horus.

Later in the film, Seti appoints Rameses as Prince Regent (on the advice of Moses), placing him in charge of overseeing the construction of the temples. When Moses suggests that the priests Hotep and Huy offer a tribute to Rameses, Seti happily concurs and orders the priests to do so. The priests does so by giving a Midian woman named Tzipporah, but Rameses decides to give Tzipporah to Moses, who eventually sets her free.

Eventually, Moses discovered his true heritage after having a nightmare involving the massacre and exploring the royal palace, where he came across a depiction of the massacre, much to his horror. Upon seeing Moses grieving over this, a guilt-ridden Seti tries to comfort his adoptive son by explaining his reasons for the massacre. However, his seemingly uncaring attitude towards the "slaves" simply served to alienate him from Moses, who fled from his adoptive father - repulsed and disgusted by his attempts to justify mass murder.

Seti is not heard of again in the film, but died at some point following Moses' exile into the desert, passing his kingdom to a fully-grown Rameses - who would do all in his power to try and build a "better" Egypt than his father could ever have dreamed of. It is possible that Rameses killed Seti to take over the throne, though this remains unconfirmed. 

Quotes

Why do the gods torment me with such reckless, destructive, blasphemous sons!? (Rameses: Father, hear what I say—) Be still! Pharaoh speaks! I seek to build an empire, and your only goal is to amuse yourselves by tearing it down. Have I taught you nothing?
~ Seti confronting Moses and Rameses for the mischief they've caused with their chariot races.
Moses, you will never have to carry a burden like the crown I will pass to Rameses. He must not allow himself to be lead astray. Not even by you, my son.
~ Seti explaining to Moses why he's harder on Rameses.
The Hebrews grew too numerous. They might've risen against us. (Moses: Father, tell me you didn't do this.) Moses… sometimes, for the greater good… sacrifices must be made.
~ Seti admitting his guilt behind the massacre to Moses.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Seti is similar to Judge Claude Frollo from the 1996 animated Disney film The Hunchback of Notre Dame, as they are elderly but politically powerful villains who committed genocide against particular races out of paranoia and hate (Frollo, Gypsies; Seti, Hebrews). They also adopted male infants (Quasimodo and Moses), who were members of those particular races and grew up to become the protagonists of their respective films.
    • However, Frollo is shown to be far more depraving as he was abusive and deceptive towards Quasimodo (since he only adopted him in order to use him to capture more gypsies); Frollo even attempted to kill Quasimodo after the latter rebelled against him for his atrocities. Seti, on the other hand, genuinely cares for his family, even trying to comfort Moses after admitting his horrible actions to him.
    • Patrick Stewart was originally chosen to voice Frollo.

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