Horatio Thelonious Ignacious Crustaceous Sebastian Lobster is a red Jamaican crab and major character in Disney's 1989 animated film The Little Mermaid. He is the "distinguished" court composer for King Triton, and is regularly tasked with watching over his daughter, Princess Ariel.
Sebastian is voiced by Samuel E. Wright.
Sebastian is a sidekick for the Little Mermaid's protagonist Ariel. He is a character developed solely for the film, and is not derived from the original Hans Christian Andersen story.
Sebastian was conceived as a musical character for The Little Mermaid, and performs two songs ("Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl") that went on to become hits for Disney and were nominated for "Best Original Song" at the 1990 Academy Awards. Voice actor Wright's singing style and the compositions by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken for the Sebastian character lean heavily to calypso and reggae influences.
“This is a catastrophe! What would her father say? I'll tell you what her father'd say, he'd say he's gonna kill himself a crab, that's what her father'd say! I'm gonna march meself straight home right now and tell him just like I shoulda done de minute... and don't you shake your head at me, young lady. Maybe there's still time. If we could get that witch to give you back your voice, you could go home with all the normal fish, and just be... just be... just be miserable for the rest of your life. All right, all right. I'll try to help you find that prince.”
―Sebastian's many traits from anxious, to short tempered, to compassionate, during his nervous breakdown in the film.
While usually carefree, Sebastian is often seen to be very grumpy and worrisome. This is mostly due to Ariel's stubbornness, who he is found with regularly. He is also prone to having panic attacks and fearing King Triton will murder him if he slips up on a task. Like the other sea inhabitants, Sebastian holds a great fear of the sea king, King Triton. Despite the fear, he still shows great respect and they are obviously on good terms, friendship wise. However Sebastian is not a blind servant to Triton and does not always agree with him. He was clearly horrified when Triton destroyed Ariel's collection of human objects and heartbroken over how sad it made her. He was also shown to have a rebellious side in the prequel film, Ariel's Beginning, where he served as the lead performer in an underground music club, despite the fact that music (at the time) was banned from Atlantica, by order of Triton, himself.
When scared, Sebastian's voice tends to become humorously higher in pitch.
He can be sensitive at times about his size and the fact that his tiny arms prevents him from swimming as fast as Ariel and Flounder. This makes it difficult to tag along on adventures which is why he'll just grab onto Flounder's tail fin.
Despite his size, the enemies of the kingdom, notably Ursula, still find Sebastian to be a big enough threat to foil their plans. Being part of the royal family, Sebastian is fairly intelligent and knows mostly all secrets of the sea, even more so than King Triton. Sebastian is also willing to put his own life on the line, such as willingly swimming to Ursula's lair despite being terrified to save Ariel and later to save Melody, Ariel's daughter.