Circa 1983 I heard a d'var Torah from a Recon Talmud Torah Teacher stating that he found Par'oh's stubbornness in the face of the plagues as incomprehensible. And as such he could not and did not take this story as factual.
I bristled a bit until 1991 when Saddam Hussein remained steadfast in the face of a massive coalition during the first Gulf War. And after all - all Saddam needed to do was to withdraw from Kuwait and the ultimatum would have been rescinded and the coalition would have dissolved
But Saddam did NOT acquiesce. I saw this as a reflection of Par'oh's own "hard heart" and a reminder that that story COULD have been quite literally true - and not just literary license. Vindication at last.
[Not to mention the Midrashic connection between Par'oh and melech Ninveh etc. ]
And it's also a lesson to us in the present and future that such arrogant potentates can be more obstinate than reasonable