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Headscratchers: The Prince of Egypt
  • Minor thing. But the fact that Tzipporah's youngest sister constantly has a scarf covering half of her face has always struck me as an odd choice of character design. And I remember thinking this when I watched the film at my tender, single-digit age. Why does she wear a headscarf when no one else does? Is it like how little kids can get fanatically attached to a particular piece of clothing? Is her face horribly injured? It's also odd because in the West we're always taught to think that a woman's headscarf is a sign of oppression (which I do not buy into). It's just... weird.
    • Judging by the fact that she lives next to a desert, its probably a good way of stopping dust entering the lungs. Maybe she is the only one who has asthma?
      • As the scarf moves, we can see the rest of her face in a couple shots. She looks fine.
    • Other people don't always buy into any of that oppressive symbolism either, especially when the men are wearing scarves too. Also, you may recall there had recently been a sandstorm. The only real question is why we don't see the other characters wearing them more often.
    • It may also just be their way of portraying her as a shy girl, kind of like the way Violet always had her hair draped over her face in The Incredibles until she got more confident and learned to stick up for herself.
    • Plus, didn't she have her scarf completely down at one point? In the scene where Moses first meets the leader of their tribe, he reaches out for a food, and someone hisses at him, saying, "Not yet!" and her scarf was lowered. Was this her?
      • No, that was a different girl.

  • Regarding the Pharaoh's Genocide Backfire: if Aaron is Moses' brother, wouldn't that mean that he would be the one targeted by the Egyptian soldiers? I mean, HE'S the firstborn, not Moses.
    • You're getting it mixed up. The tenth plague was the first-born because Ramses specifically targeted the Jews' first-born. Ramses and Moses' father's genocide was to kill all the male infants who had recently been born, so presumably Aaron was older than that genocide began.
    • And he was. Aaron is shown during those events as just past a toddler.
      • I'd put Aaron as four or five just based on looks.
    • This raises an interesting question about the tenth plague: if it targets the first-born, regardless of age, why did Ramses himself survive?
      • Because Ramses's father was dead, making him the head of the family.
      • It's not clear as to whether the tenth plague targeted adults. In The Ten Commandments it did, in this movie only children are seen as the victims.
      • There were adult victims. When the Angel of Death enters the palace, the guards flee and it moves in the direction of one of them.
      • Would first-born also only apply to families with more than one child? Because to be the first born implies there are other children that were born after you or otherwise you're an only child. And while Ramses did consider Moses his brother, technically he was the only child born of Seti and his queen.
      • Not necessarily. Catholic tradition holds that when the Gospel of Luke refers to Jesus as Mary's "first-born" son, it doesn't imply that she had other sons, but that Jesus was entitled to all of the rights, inheritance, and privileges of a first-born son — which was a bit of a big deal in ancient Judaism, just ask Jacob and Esau.
      • That was only important because both Jacob and Esau were both alive. Had the eldest (it's been a while since I read the Bible I think Jacob and Esau had different mothers as well and the younger brother came from the First Wife really screwing this whole situation) been dead all of the rights and inheritances would have passed to the second son. It's not like there was some obligation to sacrifice the the inheritance if the eldest kid was dead.
      • Odd that that's part of the Catholic tradition (this is coming from a Protestant). When Jesus goes to Nazareth, townspeople mention that he has brothers and sisters, though the number of sisters is left unclear. So, yes Jesus would be considered the first-born of Mary even if he was an only child, but the existence of half-siblings makes it even clearer.
      • To clarify, Catholics believe that those "siblings" of Jesus are actually "cousins". You know, to keep the whole "Virgin Mary" aspect.
    • Empathy, to feel a PARENTS pain the Egyptian's got what the Jews got and if you think about it the Egyptian's with young children then would have been the same age as the children killed before. Harsh laser guided karma via sins of our fathers.
    • I know the wording was First Born son but did they mean eldest? Considering what infant and child mortality rates were until relatively recently it's unlikely that there was a first born son available in what seems to have been every single home with a children.
      • The film doesn't actually say it's firstborn 'sons', just 'firstborns'. So if their eldest child was a daughter (hence a first-born), she would die, and not necessarily her younger brother/sister.
    • You're confusing the tenth plague with the Pharaoh's genocide. The Hebrew babies killed were only male - because of the prophecy of Moses. The tenth plague just said "first borns" - so presumably it included daughters.

  • Why do so few of the Jews have their heads covered? And why does Tzipporah dress...like that?
    • Tzipporah seems to be from a different country, maybe for her its cultural differences.
    • Yep, she's from Midean (which is where Moses wanders to after leaving Egypt).
    • And considering the Hebrews (as the people are from the 12 Tribes, which includes Judah), most of the rules don't get put into place until after the Exodus.

  • How was Baby Moses not injured or at the very least crying after his little journey down the Nile? Let's recap what happened: He's nearly nommed on by crocs and hippos, he's battered by oars of fishermen quite violently, he's hoisted up in a net before plunging back into the Nile to complete the journey. When he's taken out of the basket, he's very cheerful, having seemingly forgotten what had just happened.
    • God was protecting him?
    • God and, of course- a script-writer? Chances are the real Moses didn't have such a rough ride, but there's nothing like a bit of Mood Whiplash to help set the tone for the rest of the film, in which we get to see all of Egypt's grandiose architecture and terrible cruelty side by side.
    • This troper has heard claims that an infant under sufficient stress will go into a kind of shock and not make any noise at all. Just a potential explanation.
    • He fell asleep just before he was shipped away. Maybe he was too tired to notice.
  • Why did Seti accuse his son, Ramses of nearly bringing down a dynasty just because he accidentally demolished a statue? Seems kinda harsh. What is he, a drama queen? "You dumped wine all over the floor!? YOU ARE BRINGING DOWN MY DYNASTY!!"
    • Because he thinks it's a portent of things to come. He sees Ramses as someone who prefers fast chariots, pranks and a life of luxury than actually running a country.
    • @ OP- Remember, Ramses just ruined a statue/temple that likely took a good few decades to build, so he just added another few decades just to get it back to how it was in the first place. Seti's afraid that Ramses' seeming recklessness and apparent apathy toward the station he'll have to bear later will spell Egypt's doom.
    • In mythology, damaging a god's statue is generally considered Serious Business - and gods generally aren't subtle in showing their displeasure.
    • Seti makes it clear that, after Ramses had left the room, he was not disappointed with the antics but rather that Ramses not only got rangled into it, but did not own up to the responsibility. Notice how Moses quickly chimes in and Ramses stood there and did nothing. Seti was disappointed in that Ramses did not understand the weight of his crown (this later became important, as it worked a little too well and thinking of the crown is all Ramses can do after Moses' return).

  • How did Moses change his physical appearance dramatically between his Egyptian attire and his own calling?
    • I think that was more "wear and tear". As a prince, he lived well and didn't have to work. After he left Egypt and lived with Tziporra, he worked and was exposed to the sun and the wind and the elements more.
    • Pretty much. As a prince, they probably didn't encourage him to go outside as the hot sun would damage his 'prince-ly' skin. With Tziporra's people, he had to work out in the fields with them, and his job, clearly, was to herd sheep. Though the movie doesn't show it, I imagine he was a little more rugged in appearance.
    • His hair and beard also grow out, which massively changes his appearance because he no longer fits Egyptian fashion standards.
    • Also, in The Bible, Moses was eighty when he went back to Egypt. If anything, he should have looked even more wizened.
      • In the book of Exodus, Moses leaves at age forty, rather than what I think is twenty or so in the film, so the time periods were basically cut in half. Done true to the Biblical version Miriam and Aaron should have been about twice as old as they looked.
      • According to the artbook of tPoE and the commentary, Moses is 18 (Rameses three years older) when he leaves Egypt, and "Through Heaven's Eyes" takes place over a decade. So he would have been in his thirties tops. Also, being outside all the time would also give Moses a more "weathered" look.

  • What were the high priests trying to prove by turning a bowl of water into blood? (even though they faked it) It's not like they reversed the blood in the river back into water, all they did was a small scale version of what Moses did, they didn't beat him or stop him so why does the Pharaoh act like they trumped him rather than just made his last scrap of water undrinkable?
    • It was to prove that Moses wasn't acting with God's power, but was just using ordinary magic/tricks they too could replicate. Their line of reasoning was that if they could copy them then Moses had no real divine power.
      • But they claim they were showing the superior might of their god over Moses's god, and they still haven't really done that, turning the river back into water would have but now they have no water, and turning the last bit of water into blood if anything made things worse for them.
      • Then by it they show that their gods are just as powerful, since he allows them to do the same tricks. Gradually that shows itself to not be true, as Moses' snake eats theirs, and they eventually find themselves unable to replicate the later plagues. There's an interesting theory out there connecting each plague to a specific Egyptian god, arguing that Yahweh was trying to strike directly at their religion to show his power was greater. With that in mind, the magicians were trying to show that their gods could do the same as Moses' and thus they didn't have to fear this Hebrew God, which quickly proved untrue.
    • The explanation does help clear things up a bit, but I'm still confused on one thing: Just how gullible would Ramses have to be? Moses simply puts his staff into the water, and bam, Nile turns into blood. Priests dumped red powder into a bowl of water. How does that show that they're copying Moses? If anything else, they, too, should've just stuck a little stick into the water. Sorry, but I think they were cheating there. For an (albeit weird) analogy: What Moses did was effectively put a golf ball in a hole that was yards and yards away. The priests simply took their ball, walked over, and dropped it into the hole and declared it a victory. Plus, the 'blood' on Ramses hand was clearly dirty water, not the blood observed by Ramses' son, Miriam, and the Egyptian soldiers.
    • It becomes clearer in the next scene where the plagues go into high gear that Ramses is in self-denial, so he'll take anything that looks like it matches Moses' miracle. He does the same thing earlier when he orders his magicians to copy Moses' snake miracle, and while Moses changed the staff into a snake out in public, the magicians did it with a bright flash of light that obviously let them trade the staffs for real snakes. And Ramses had no problem with it, he still thought he had won. Long story short, Ramses' not gullible, but he's deliberately trying to ignore the falseness of his magicians just so the score looks even to him.
    • In other words, Ramses isn't stupid, he's just in denial. Of course he knows the priests didn't do what Moses did, he's just willing to pretend they did because he wants to believe it. A little like the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter ignoring evidence of Voldemort's return, not because they were stupid, but because they wanted to be believe everything was fine.
    • Ramses wasn't asking for the two to prove that their gods were better than the hebrew god. Ramses was asking for an explanation. The whole "superior might" thing was Hotep's own line (which, by the way he said it, sounded very rehearsed). Ramses just wanted the two to explain it; he knows Hotep and Hoy are stage magicians and if they could reveal the "trick", then Moses was just spouting nonsense. It was a way for Ramses to reinforce his own mindset. It's also why he later shoos them out during the Plagues; the two now couldn't even keep the "tricks" off themselves, much less explain any of it.

  • Did the Queen not think that a random non-Egyptian-looking baby boy floating into her palace, on the day her husband orders all the newborn Hebrew boys to be killed, was suspicious? Or even the Pharaoh for that matter. I know God was meant to save Moses to be the Deliverer, but it seemed a bit far-fetched (to me) that they both just accepted Moses into their family without wondering about his origins.
    • In the original story, Pharaoh's daughter (exchanged with the queen in this film) knew perfectly well that Moses was a Hebrew boy. Maybe they were aware here too, but chose to chalk him off as an exception, figuring that one survivor couldn't hurt and raising him away from the Hebrews might do him some good.
      • There was no reason to not make an exception... the purge wasn't a punishment to the Hebrews for anything they'd done, or a command from their gods... it was just population control, of the slaves. A single Hebrew who was going to be raised as a non-slave anyway didn't matter at all to what was being done.
    • Given the dangerous trip that Moses takes down the Nile and the fact that he floated up to the Queen's little dock/pier, she likely took it as a sign from the gods. They had sent them a Hebrew boy as their own, which was probably interpreted as a sign that the gods approved of the massacre and Moses was a symbol of the Egyptians having been giving the Hebrews as their own.
      • The queen specifically says this, that she takes Moses as a gift given to her by the gods and deliberately chooses not to question anything about his appearing before her. She simply loves him when she sees him, and that's enough for her. Even if Seti didn't believe that himself, he knew that it made his wife happy, so why not? The fact that Moses eventually appeared to be much more responsible and mature than his own son (and thus be a good influence on him) probably settled it in his mind that Moses was meant to be his son.

  • So Moses is the first "Egyptian" person to show empathy for the slaves by calling out and killing (accidentally, but still) a slave driver that was nearly whipping an old man to death, yet when he returns they're mad at him?
    • Are you referring to after he returns to Egypt? It's because Pharaoh responded to Moses's first demand to let the Israelites go by refusing to provide straw for the slaves' bricks anymore, forcing them to use their own straw. In their eyes, Moses' protests are just making things worse.
    • Add in some resentment from him being raised as a prince, then suddenly showing up, spending five minutes with his people, and claiming to be on a mission from God.
    • Think about it. Dude spends most of his life living in splendor as an Egyptian prince, having to lift objects no heavier than a wine glass and being pampered and spoiled; no one ever subjecting him to verbal or physical abuse. A decade later, after a random Pet the Dog moment that likely never happened again, this former prince turned shepherd has the audacity to come back and tell them that he's heard their god from a cave, and their god is telling him to lead them to freedom? From their perspective, Moses was pulling an unbelievably cruel joke on them. It wasn't until Miriam saved him from a potential No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, and they saw proof that he really meant what he said, that they followed him. As for the saving the old man? That was years ago, and Moses immediately ran away after that incident, so they likely forgot all about it. And if they remembered? Well, as they say, one good act doesn't erase a lifetime of wickedness. As far as they were concerned, Moses randomly playing a hero all those years ago to save one man isn't going to help them ease off their resentment that one of their own once lived the life of their oppressors.

  • Why did Moses take off his sandals when God was speaking to him?
    • Because he was standing on holy ground. As a sign of respect. And God told him to, so he better listen.

  • Why did the creators scrap the idea of having a man, woman and child simultaneously be the voice of God? That would have been way epic! Instead they have the same guy voicing Moses voicing God as well, in every language. Even though it works okay it still seemed like a weird replacement idea for such a kickass one they had at first.
    • According to Word of God it was because the result sounded too demonic no matter how they mixed it, and when God is depicted as warm, protective, and loving the last thing you'd want is a creepy Voice of the Legion. While it was a good idea in theory, it didn't work in practice.
    • Oh I watched the extras on the DVD once upon a time but I don't recall if I saw the part where they explained that, but it makes alot of sense. Thanks.
    • Actually, I'm going to have to retract that. I found this, which explains that while it produced a nice sound, it crossed too many lines theologically and they didn't want that. Sorry. Next time I'll do the research before posting.

  • OK, so I know that Moses was in the middle of a panic attack and wasn't thinking clearly after he killed the overseer, but Ramses was spot on. Moses was innocent. If anyone questioned why Moses randomly killed the Egyptian overseer, all Ramses would have to do is say something like, "Father, Moses gave that man clear instructions to cease his actions, and he refuse to obey a royal order. When Moses attempted to restrain him, he misjudged his distance, the two toppled over the scaffold and it is through Ra's mercy Moses caught his footing in time. The death was a horrific accident, and would surely have been avoided had that man simply listened and done what he was told." Not even a lie, it was exactly what happened. Surely Seti would've believed that, no?
    • The issue wasn't that Moses didn't believe Ramses could clear his name, but that Moses didn't care. Soon or later it would happen again, and Moses would feel the need to defend the slaves he knows he's actually descended from. He couldn't stand being there and doing nothing to aid them, so he opted to run away rather than feel ashamed for daily looking the other way.

  • There will probably be a really stupidly simple answer to this, but were ALL the Hebrew slaves in Egypt living in just that one little village? Or were they all across Egypt, as the line, "All through the land of Egypt" (The Plagues) seems to imply? Because if they were scattered along the Nile, and thus Egypt, then it would take days at least for any message of the Hebrews' freedom to get from one side of the country to the other. I'm assuming all the Hebrew slaves were in just the one city (I'm assuming something like Memphis, because of the pyramids), or that any other Hebrews outside Memphis knew what was happening when the plagues came along.
    • That is an excellent point, and while it all seems to come together absurdly quickly, it is not explicitly mentioned how much time passed between Rameses giving Moses the news and the actual Exodus. I would imagine it was a few days, if not a fortnight. Given the other timeskips (Moses' time in Midian and the plagues,) likely the emotional implications outweighed the need for temporal extrapolation to the staff.
    • Most foreigners in ancient Egypt lived in the Delta (the exception being the rare Nubian coming from south), and the Bible states the Hebrews lived there three times: Genesis states the Hebrews that came to Egypt settled in the Land of Goshen (or Gesem, depending on the translation), with the 20th Nome (province) of Egypt in the Eastern Delta being known as Gesem during the 26th Dinasty (around the time Exodus was written); Exodus states again that the Hebrews still lived in Goshem; and Exodus again states that the Exodus started at the city of Ramesses, the capital under Ramesses II, that the Hebrews had just built, placed at the northern border of Goshen. So yes, all the Hebrews lived in that one city and the region around it, only it was in the middle of the Delta and not at its mouth. Scores of them were probably moved around as needed (hence why at the start some were in Memphis, Seti's capital), but the vast majority stayed in Goshem, and when Moses came they were all there because they had just finished building the city, were building statues and were repairing the damage from the Seventh Plague.
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