"Caligula preserved his uncle Claudius mainly as a butt for practical jokes."
— Life of Caligula The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius (translated by Robert Graves)
We know about the Evil Uncle
. It looks like nephews in these families have a difficult time.
But don't think that uncles always have it fine. Sometimes they can be the ones who have trouble. This trope is for Uncles who get badly treated, sometimes they are the Butt Monkey
, sometimes they are subject to avunculicide, the act of killing an uncle.
This can happen when the nephew is the one who succeeds to power and the uncle is still a member of court. But his nephew may be The Caligula
and treat the uncle badly.
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- In Action Comics #293 Prince Endor of a planet of Sorcerers is nearly overthrown by his nephew Lord Nomed.
- In the Godzilla franchise, Space-Godzilla would qualify, being as he is the son of Biollante, who is, technically speaking, Godzilla's sister.
- In Herodotus' Histories, Xerxes (yes the one from 300) has elements of this. When his Uncle Artabanus criticises his plan to invade Greece Xerxes tells him to stay at home with the women and says that if Artabanus wasn't his uncle he would suffer even more. By the next day Xerxes has reconsidered and apologises.
- King, Queen, Knave by Vladimir Nabokov has Franz intend to murder his uncle; the narrator tells us that later on he will be "guilty of worse sins than avunculicide".
- Happens in How to Train Your Dragon with Stoick, as his nephew Snoutlout has been made Chief while he has become a slave.
- Joffrey in A Game of Thrones, especially to his only blood uncle Tyrion. He insults and humiliates him at every opportunity, and even plots to have him killed.
Live Action TV
- Caligula from I, Claudius inspired this page. He treats his Uncle Claudius badly, among other acts. He humiliates him, forces him to be the doorman at a brothel, and has him thrown in a river. Caligula also plots the murder of his Great-Uncle Tiberius, though not actually performing it.
- Gender-Flipped example. Later Agrippina, niece and wife of Claudius, poisons him so her son Nero can become Emperor. However Claudius knows she is planning to murder him, which is part of his Thanatos Gambit to restore the Republic.
Mythology and Folklore
- Apparently the last ruler of the Shang Dynasty, Zhou Xin, was like this. When his Uncle Prince Bi Ghan criticised him he had Bi Ghan's heart cut out as sages were supposed to have seven openings to the heart and he wanted to check this. His other Uncle Ji Zi feigned madness and was imprisoned.
- Odin and Loki in original Norse Mythology were blood brothers, despite what is shown in Marvel Comics. One of Loki's sons, the Wolf Fenrir, would eventually devour Odin at Ragnarökkr. And for the Comic version another of Loki's sons, the Midgard Serpent Jörmungandr would eventually kill Thor, though die itself.
- Then with King Arthur, there is his evil nephew and son Mordred, illegitimate son of Arthur's half-sister Morgause or half-sister Morgana. Mordred would kill Arthur in battle as Arthur killed him.
- In God of War III, Kratos kills his uncles Poseidon, Helios and Hades, and his aunt Hera in brutal fashion.
- Gender-Flipped example. When Jade Chan in Jackie Chan Adventures becomes queen of the Shadowkhan, she acts like this to her Uncle Jackie.