King Seti I (or simply known as The Pharaoh) is the central antagonist of The Prince of Egypt. He is the father of Rameses, the adoptive father of Moses, husband to his queen Tuya, and the ruling pharaoh of all of Egypt during the early events of The Price of Egypt.
Pharaoh Seti I may appear to be a wise and kind old man, but his cruelty brews just beneath the surface. He is vicious and cold, having every Hebrew boy under two years killed. However, he had done it out of fear that the Hebrews might one day rise in number and power to start a rebellion that will threaten his legacy. He is callous and cold, as he dismisses the innocent lives he destroyed as "only slaves" and justifies his actions by saying that someitmes "sacrifices must be made", though his monstrous deeds demonstrated how he saw the Hebrews as beneath himself and the Egyptians yet acknowledged they could become a threat if they grew enough in numbers.
Background and history
Not much information is revealed about Seti's younger days and his past history prior to the events of the Prince of Egypt. As such, much uncertainty and mystery shrouds his character, despite him being the ruling pharaoh of one of the greatest civilizations on Earth, and despite his significant building efforts. At some point prior to the events of The Prince of Egypt, Seti married Tuya, and the two of them would develop a close relationship with one another - although Tuya seems to have disagreed on some of his methods. The two had a son, who they would name Rameses, named after Seti's own father, who coincidentally was the ruling pharaoh during the events of Joseph - King of dreams, which took place many decades prior to The Prince of Egypt. As the years slid by, Seti would start to become paranoid about the Hebrew populace that lived in Egypt, and eventually they would be turned into slaves, used as the work force required to build Egypt's most magnificent monuments. Despite his efforts at keeping the population of the Hebrews down however, they would continue to grow tremendously, which eventually resulted in Seti ordering his soldiers to assault the Hebrew village, and kill all the newly born infant sons, which is where The Prince of Egypt picks up his story.
Role in Film
Pharaoh Seti I is the ruler of Egypt alongside his queen, Tuya. He is the father of Rameses II and the adoptive father of Moses. At the beginning of the film, he ordered his Egyptian soldiers to kill every Hebrew baby boy under the age of two out of fear that the Hebrews would grow in number and rebel against him. Offscreen, he allows Tuya to adopt an infant boy she found on a river whilst outside with Ramses. They name the baby Moses and raise him as their own alongside Ramses.
Some years later, Seti reprimands a now young adult Moses and Rameses after a temple is destroyed. He is especially hard on Rameses, who he feels he must prepare for the throne. Moses appeals to Seti's better nature and promises him that Rameses sought only his approval, and would succeed if he only had the opportunity.
Seti later appears at the feast where he appoints Rameses as Prince Regent, by Moses's recommendation. Moses suggests Hotep and Huy pay tribute to their new Prince Regent with a gift. They bring out Tzipporah, a Midian girl captured as a concubine for Rameses, who eagerly gives her to Moses because she is too spirited. After Moses struggles to restrain Tzipporah, he jokingly "lets her go" into a small pool behind her. Seti is indifferent to this display, but his wife is ashamed of the behavior.
After Moses is told by his biological sister Miriam that he is a Hebrew, he has a nightmare of his people being killed. As Moses searches for answers through historical etchings throughout the palace, he finally finds a mosaic of Seti ordering the massacre of Hebrew baby boys. Seti finds a devastated Moses and reveals to him that he had them killed to keep their population in check and prevent any rebellion against him. He attempts to comfort Moses with a hug and justify his behavior, but when Seti tells Moses that the women were "only slaves", Moses backs away from him in disgust.
Seti dies some point after Moses escapes into the desert and is succeeded by Rameses, who surpasses his rule. However, Seti's way of ruling finally pays the great price during his son's rule as plagues ruin Egypt by killing all their firstborns, including his grandson and bringing ten plagues to their land.