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Rameses (The Prince of Egypt)

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I do not know this God. Neither shall I let your people go. (Moses: Rameses, please. You must listen--) I WILL NOT BE THE WEAK LINK! Tell your people, as of today, their workload has been doubled, thanks to your God. Or, is it thanks...to you?
~ Rameses to Moses.
You Hebrews have been nothing but trouble! My father had the right idea of how to deal with your people, and I think it's time I finished the Job! And there shall be a great cry heard in all of Egypt such as never has or ever will be again!
~ Rameses deciding to commit genocide.

Rameses is the main antagonist of DreamWorks's 2nd full-length animated feature film, The Prince of Egypt. He is based on the Pharaoh from the biblical tale of Moses; indeed, the movie (for the most part) follows the story faithfully. However, in The Prince of Egypt, he and Moses were raised as brothers and the conflict between them is seen as a deeply personal one on both sides.

He was voiced by the Academy Award nominated actor, Ralph Fiennes, who also played Lord Voldemort, Hades, the Moon King, Amon Goeth, Francis Dolarhyde, and Victor Quartermaine.

Personality

While it would be an exaggeration to call him a villain, Rameses was not truly evil per se; just stubborn and obstinate. His cruelty and stubbornness apparently stems from his past, where his father taught him to hold fast to a strong will and an unwavering mindset; it is worth noting that Rameses's principal objective was getting his father's acceptance. Rameses also did genuinely and deeply care about his son, and was utterly broken by his son's death.

At the start of the movie, Rameses did have a true brotherly bond with Moses, and they considered each other quite close. Before the final plague, Rameses tells Moses that he wishes they could just be a family again. Anyone could also consider him to be a control freak, forcing high standards on one of his guards, and bringing a guard who is ill up onto his feet and giving him his stick even though he is too ill to guard his king.

History

Childhood and Early Rise to Power

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Rameses and Moses as babies.

Rameses was but a toddler when an infant Moses was discovered by his mother; during this period in history, his father had ordered the death of all Hebrew boys after a prophecy saying that the slaves would be united under a leader chosen by God (similar to how Herod would, many years later, attempt another Massacre Of The Innocents). The young Rameses was by his mother's side as she took his new baby brother to meet the Pharaoh. The Pharaoh agreed to raise the infant, and Rameses presumably shared a happy childhood with Moses, accepting him as his own brother.


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Rameses and Moses as teenagers

When we next meet them, Rameses and Moses are in their teens and prone to mischief, engaging in wild chariot races. Both brothers were competitive but fairly good-natured towards one another; however, their chariot race caused great damage to their surroundings, infuriating Rameses' father who was harsh with his eldest son, calling him a "weak link," an insult that deeply wounded Rameses and would continue to affect him later in life.

However, a short time later, Rameses was appointed Prince Regent by his father (who was moved by an appeal by Moses on his brother's behalf), and he promptly appointed Moses as Royal Chief Architect. During the celebrations, Hotep and Huy were ordered to give Rameses a gift as a sign of respect for their new superior, and the two high priests offered Rameses a kidnapped woman from a desert tribe as his bride (or more likely, a concubine). However, due to her fiery nature, Rameses didn't want her and tried to give her to Moses, which simply angered her more and she fought back until she was humiliated by Moses; Rameses found this amusing and ordered the guards to "dry her up and have her delivered to Prince Moses' chambers" (although Moses ultimately set her free).

At a later point, Rameses was overseeing the building of a great temple when Moses (who had recently learned of his true Hebrew heritage) fought against a guard abusing an old slave and accidentally killed him in the process. Rameses was shocked and confused, and ran after his brother as he fled; he showed little concern over the death of the guard and even told Moses that, as royalty, he could see to it that the crime would never be heard of again. However, Moses was too full of regret and confusion and fled into the desert, leaving Rameses alone in Egypt.

Taking The Throne

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Rameses, the ruler of Egypt

During Moses' time in the desert, Rameses had taken power following the death of his father, and the oppression of the Hebrews had become worse as Rameses continued to build, determined to make a legacy as great as that of his father. When Moses returned, Rameses was overjoyed. Hotep and Huy were quick to try and ruin the reunion, however, by insisting Rameses enforce the death sentence on Moses for killing the guard; however, Rameses dismissed them and proclaimed Moses innocent of all crimes and a prince of Egypt. Unfortunately for Rameses, Moses was charged by God to stand against Rameses and free the Hebrews, which soon caused a confrontation between the two brothers.

Conflict With Moses

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Rameses refusing Moses' pleas.

When Moses transformed his staff into a cobra as his first miracle, Rameses was amused and had Hotep and Huy perform a magic act of their own in an attempt to make Moses see otherwise. Following this event, he motioned to Moses to follow him to a secluded area so as to talk alone. Once Rameses was away from the public eye, he conversed more openly with Moses, trying to justify not only his own actions but that of his father. However, he was visibly hurt when Moses rejected his words and, feeling betrayed, became angry; telling Moses that "I do not know this God" and that he would not let the Hebrews be set free, also ranting that he would not become the weak link as his father previously told him. Rameses then informed Moses that all slaves would have their workload doubled, implicitly blaming Moses.

When the two next met, Rameses was enjoying a boat ride on the Nile when Moses once again demanded that he set "his people free." Rameses unsuccessfully tried to ignore Moses and promptly ordered his guards to bring Moses to him. His guards attempted to capture Moses, only for God to turn the Nile River into blood as another of His miracles. At first, Rameses was shocked at this show of power and demanded that Hotep and Huy explain how it was done. When the two magicians replicated the miracle via the use of a dye, Rameses' fear subsided and he laughed it off, then warned Moses that the "joke" must now end, unaware that this was just the beginning.

The Plagues

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The Prince of Egypt-The Plagues

The two brothers' confrontation reached its climax during the event known as the Ten Plagues of Egypt, in which God unleashed ten plagues upon the kingdom of Egypt. Although the suffering was unbearable, Rameses refused to give into Moses' demands; as a result, the people of Egypt suffered for many days and nights as the plagues manifested as frogs, gnats, flies, death of livestock, fire from the sky, painful boils, locusts, and darkness.

During the onset of the great darkness, Rameses was visited by Moses in the temple. He was embittered and angry, paralleling his father when he expressed a desire to re-create the events of the massacre (stating that his father may have had the right idea about dealing with the Hebrews); this saddened Moses, who told Rameses that he had brought the final plague upon himself. Thus, due to Rameses' hubris, the Tenth Plague was unleashed upon Egypt. The Angel of Death descended from the heavens and killed all of the kingdom's firstborn children, including Rameses' own son, while the first-born children of the Hebrews were spared.

Overwhelmed with grief, Rameses told Moses to go and take his people with him; thus the Hebrews (along with some Egyptians) left Egypt behind and began their great exodus.

Final Confrontation

However, Rameses had a change of heart and pursued the Hebrews across the desert, cornering them at the Red Sea alongside a small army. He charged at them with the intent of either recapturing them or killing them. However, God intervened by sending a pillar of flame to stop Rameses and his army long enough for Moses to part the Red Sea using his staff. The Hebrews then proceeded to cross the sea.

However, Rameses wouldn't stop and, once God removed the pillar of flame, he resumed his charge, prompting God to close the path made by Moses, drowning many of Rameses' men and sending Rameses himself hurling back onto the shore. He then yelled Moses' name in anger and sorrow, broken by defeat.

​Quotes

(Moses:I figured it out. You know what your problem is, Rameses? You care too much.) And your problem is that you don't care at all.
~ Rameses and Moses.
Come on, Moses, admit it. You've always looked up to me.
~ Rameses
The "weak link in the chain." That's what he called me.
~ Rameses
(Moses: Rameses, look. What do you see?) A greater Egypt than that of my father.
~ Rameses on his Egyptian Empire.
So, you have returned, only to free them.
~ Rameses to Moses.
Enough! I will have no more of this Hebrew nonsense!
~ Rameses
Oh, let me guess. You want me to let your people go?
~ Rameses
Why can't things be the way they were before?
~ Rameses to Moses.
I will not be dictated to. I will not be threatened. I am the morning and the evening star! I am Pharaoh!
~ Rameses
You and your people have my permission to go. Leave me!
~ Rameses allowing the Hebrews to go.
MOSES!! MOSES!!
~ Rameses final words.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Rameses is very similar to Lord Voldemort from the Harry Potter series:
    • Both are Big Bads who desire immortality (Rameses to become a god, Voldemort by splitting his soul as Horcruxes), and are voiced by Ralph Fiennes. They are also bald and clean-shaven.
    • Both seek to kill the protagonist to secure their power (Moses and Harry Potter).
    • Both consider themselves above the law (Rameses doesn't keep to old traditions in place of his own, Voldemort follows his own path in a manner beyond that of a typical dark wizard).
    • Both are indirectly related to the Hero (Voldemort is indirectly related to Harry by descent by the Gaunts who were in turn descended from the Peverells, Ramses is Moses' stepbrother).
    • Both consider themselves flawless and superior, ignoring proof of otherwise.
    • Both use snakes as a weapon (however, while Voldemort uses an actual pet snake named Nagini, Ramses told his magicians to copy God through Moses's ability to transform staffs into snakes).
    • Both were arrogant, cunning, prideful, diabolical, and manipulative from childhood.
    • The main protagonist sought their redemption.
    • They were both abused/neglected by their fathers, which in turn caused them to become evil.
    • They both give the same battle cry in the climactic showdown, and they even charge in with their armies in a similar fashion.
    • However, unlike Voldemort, Ramses had a few redeeming qualities as he seemed to truly respect and care for his family and was civil with Moses because of their former brotherly bond. Voldemort, on the other hand, had none, as he killed his own family out of his selfish desire to obtain power for himself.
  • He is also similar to King Stefan from Maleficent.
    • They started out as friends with the protagonist (Maleficent and Moses), but eventually their ambition got the better of them, and they became the main antagonist and opposed the hero.


DreamWorks Villains


Animated Features
General Mandible | Colonel Cutter | Pharaoh Rameses | Pharaoh Seti I | Hotep & Huy | Tzekel-Kan | Hernán Cortés | Lord Farquaad | Thelonious | The Colonel | Eris | Cetus | Roc | Fairy Godmother | Prince Charming | Don Lino | Lola | Frankie | Luca | Fossas | Vincent | Gladys Sharp | Dwayne LaFontant | Prince Tigerius Mahmoud Shaboz | Rapunzel | Layton T. Montgomery | Ken | Tai Lung | Makunga | Teetsi | Gallaxhar | Derek Dietl | Red Death | Rumpelstiltskin | Fifi | Pied Piper | Megamind | Minion | Brainbots | Tighten | Lord Shen | Boss Wolf | Lord Shen's Wolf Army | Jack & Jill | Humpty Alexander Dumpty | Great Terror | Chantel DuBois | Pitch Black | Nightmares | Guy Gagne | Ms. Grunion | Drago Bludvist | Muddy Bewilderbeast | Drago's Army | Eret | Dave | Octopi | Captain Smek | Officer Kyle | The Boov | Kai the Collector | Chef | Creek | King Gristle Sr.

Aardman Animations
Mrs. Tweedy | Mr. Tweedy | Victor Quartermaine | Philip | The Toad | Le Frog | Spike & Whitey | Thimblenose Ted | Fat Barry | Ladykiller

Shorts
Mr. Chew | Boneknapper | Wu Sisters | Le Chuchoteur

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