ISTJ: King Seti, “The Prince of Egypt”


ISTJ, The Inspector, The Sentinel, The Trustee

I like to profile as many of the characters from a movie or series as I can. Problem is, once you get past the leads, the material gets a little sketchier. I tried really hard to flesh out characters like Uncle Henry and Auntie Em, but it took a lot of speculation to fill in the evidence for all their functions.

So, moving forward, I’ll do mini-profiles for supporting characters. Nailing down the top two functions should be enough to prove the type for most cases, anyway. For King Seti, I’m going to include all his functions, just because it’s a good chance to talk about Feeling versus Thinking; but this will still be short.

Dominant Function: Si/Introverted Sensing, “Relive the Experience”

ISTJ-KingSeti-pics01Seti’s biggest concern is his legacy. “One weak link can break the chain of a mighty dynasty!” he declares to his reckless son Rameses. He values the dignity and strength of the kings that have come before him, and he desires his sons to live up to that standard. Though Rameses will later show a great capacity for ambition, Seti’s  focus is more on maintaining the kingdom than on expanding it.

The filmmakers show us this visually by framing Seti’s profile alongside the statues of his predecessors. For Seti, those giant sculptures aren’t just there to show off Egypt’s glory, but to remember the great kings of the past whom he desires to emulate. It’s this greatness and history that Seti wished to preserve when he ordered the extermination of the Hebrew children.

Auxiliary Function: Te/Extraverted Thinking, “Organize the Experience”

ISTJ-KingSeti-pics02When Moses learns what Seti did, Seti almost shrugs it off. He explains very matter-of-factly, “The Hebrews grew too numerous.” They were a threat to the continued existence of the kingdom of Egypt, and so Seti took what to him was a sensible action to keep them under control. The effective orchestration of such a large scale act of genocide makes Seti a chilling figure.

It’s also through his Extraverted Thinking that Seti imparts the values of the past to his sons. One track of the movie’s score is titled, “The Reprimand,” so named because it plays under the scene where Seti…well, reprimands Rameses and Moses. An entire musical piece underscores the power that Seti’s authority has when he wields it to keep his kingdom, and his sons, in line.

Tertiary Function: Fi/Introverted Feeling, “Evaluate the Experience”

ISTJ-KingSeti-pics03When we talk about the Feeling functions, we don’t just mean our emotions. Feeling in MBTI also references our ethics and morality, as contrasted with the Thinking functions, which deal in facts and rational, linear logic. Sometimes these ethical decisions show up as a “gut feeling” or an undefined pricking of the conscience that we then have to evaluate further. It’s not always as clear cut or easily explained as a Thinking decision, but it has a certain “moral logic” to it that carries just as much value.

All this to say that if Seti had ever once paid attention to his Introverted Feeling, he might have asked himself how he felt about killing an entire generation of babies. He should have felt terrible, obviously, but Seti worked only out of his higher functions, believing he was carrying out a sensible, necessary course of action. Sometimes a movie villain might show inner conflict over such a grave decision, but not Seti. “Oh, my son,” he tells Moses, “they were only slaves.”

Our four lead heroes, however, are all Feeler types. While they’re not as organized in their resistance against their oppressors as their oppressors are against them, they all four have a strong sense of what’s right and wrong, and a hope that goodness will prevail.

Inferior Function: Ne/Extraverted Intuition, “Conceptualize from the Experience”

ISTJ-KingSeti-pics04Seti’s not completely closed to change and new ideas. Although he verbally lashes out at his sons, he listens when Moses defends his brother. Later, he grants Rameses the position of Royal Chief Architect, because, as the Queen says to Moses, “Apparently, someone thought he just needed a chance.”

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