Prince of Egypt director’s commentary: [Working on this sequence a “million” times] “Just trying to figure out what Rameses’s reaction would be when Moses returns. Would he be angry, would he be flippant, would he be overjoyed, what would he be? And because we built such a relationship between the brothers before and they had nothing against each other when Moses left, other than love and regret that he was leaving, it had to be joyful.” (3/?)
This scene is dramatic enough on its own, but recall some of the dialogue that occurs in this scene and the shots that come just before or after the brothers’ lines. Oh Dreamworks, you so symbolic and clever.
“Look, Rameses, what do you see?”
Note how he is looking down at all the slaves, and how Dreamworks makes a point of showing just how many there are. We are literally seeing it from Moses' perspective and understanding–not Rameses’.
“A greater Egypt than that of my father.”
Now we are seeing it from Rameses’ understanding and perspective. To him, the slaves are invisible, they do not exist, they are below him. Note how, unlike Moses, he looks up just as he says the line, not down. The animators also symbolically laid out the shot so that we, like Rameses, do not see the slaves at all. To him, they do not exist, and Dreamworks demonstrates this to a tee.
There are bound slaves drawn on his sandals, so that he could symbollically walk all over them, and are in a sense literally and figuratively below him. Dreamworks leaves no detail neglected, as always.
Keeping that in mind, look at Rameses’ sandals, and just let the Fridge Horror sink in as you realise he probably has painted slaves on his soles like Moses’ sandals had when he was at the palace…
First of all, anon, let me apologize for not getting this done last weekend like I said I would :/ And I might have to apologize again because, after turning this request over and over (and over) in my head, I don’t think I can write an analysis exactly like the one you’re asking for.
Here’s the problem: I doubt Aaron ever truly felt jealous of Rameses.
Initially, I don’t think Aaron believes that Moses is even alive. Of course this is just headcanon, but I accept the theory that the reunion scene at the well is unnerving to Aaron not just for the inherent danger that this situation puts himself and Miriam in, but also because, for first time, Aaron’s facing this specter he’s heard about all his life from his mother and sister, and realizing that all the talk of Moses being sent away and raised by the queen of Egypt wasn’t just some fairytale they told him to soften the blow of losing his baby brother to Seti’s genocide.
Even later on, jealousy still doesn’t seem like a likely reaction from Aaron. He doesn’t really strike me as the jealous type. He’s such a practical-minded man, constantly focused on protecting his loved ones and trying to make sense out of the chaos and brutality that governs his life as a slave. His anger and anxiety come from a place of concern for his people, especially his sister, and his frustration over what he can or can’t do for them in the moment. I just don’t see Aaron wasting his time or energy cultivating something as pointless as envy, especially for someone like Rameses, a stranger whom he is unlikely to know or deal with ever, for any reason.
If anything, it’s probably the other way around - Rameses is the jealous type. In all of his post-reunion scenes with Moses, I’m struck by how incapable Rameses seems to be of viewing the conflict with his brother as anything other than a rejection of him personally: “How could you have come to hate me so?“ is what’s going through Rameses’ head at the height of the plagues, as his kingdom literally goes up in flames all around him. The director’s commentary touches on this briefly when they talk about how Rameses’ demeanor towards his brother shifts completely when he finally realizes that Moses didn’t come back to be with him. Of course it’s much more complicated - lol nothing in this movie is simple - but where Moses sees an obligation to his people and his God, and the need to put an end to a cruel institution, Rameses sees betrayal: Moses ultimately choosing the family and the people he was born into over him.
I do believe that as Moses becomes more of a concrete presence in Aaron’s life, Aaron eventually feels some resentment - not toward Rameses specifically, but more of a vague… regret, I guess? - over missing out on so many of the formative moments in Moses’ life: his childhood, his marriage to Tzipporah and the years spent in Midian, the life-changing encounter with God at the burning bush. And being robbed of the big-brother role he had every right to expect to fill in Moses’ life.