Matricide

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"Matricide is probably the most unbearable crime of all... most unbearable to the son who commits it."
Dr. Fred Richmond, Psycho

Matricide, the killing of one's mother, is considered among the most heinous crimes throughout history. Killing either one of one's parents (or both) is obviously a traumatic experience that in usual circumstances only comes about as a result of great turmoil between parent and child. Whereas Patricide carries the connotations of killing one's clan leader (or an Oedipus Complex when it's an addendum to earning the love of the mother figure), disposing of dear old mom is possibly even more extreme. This is after all the woman who carried that person to term for nine months and then took care of them for years afterwards, so it takes an exceptionally heartless character to cross that line.

This can be variously played depending on how sympathetic the mother as well as the child who is committing the act are. Even when the mother was an Abusive Parent or Evil Matriarch, or tried to kill her offspring first, it can cause intense grief that will stay with the character for years or end in their self-destruction. For an Antagonistic Offspring it can be the ultimate way to defy Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas, being played for horror rather than drama.

When people equate this to Death by Childbirth, the result is Maternal Death? Blame the Child.

Subtrope of Self-Made Orphan and Murder in the Family. Distaff Counterpart to Patricide. Contrast Offing the Offspring.

This is a Death Trope, so beware of spoilers.


Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Bastard!!: Kall Su had killed his mother in self defense before being taken in by Dark Schneider in a story that is incredibly similar to that of Haku from Naruto.
  • Kara no Kyoukai: The fifth movie starts with Tomoe killing his mother in self defense, after she murdered his father. Treated oddly sympathetically, despite the rather... strange circumstances that turn out to be surrounding it.
  • X/1999: Seishirou Sakurazuka killed his mother Setsuka not because of hate, but simply because that was the main requirement to become the Sakurazukamori. In fact, Setsuka knew it'd be like that ever since she had him, and she even got to Go Out with a Smile in her son's arms while telling him that he would die in the same way.
  • Soul Eater: Played with. Crona kills their mother Medusa because she had been nice to her, something Crona was so unused to that it made him think Medusa was actually an imposter. And this was all part of Medusa's plan to make Crona into a new Kishin.
  • Black Jack Neo: Black Jack gets kidnapped by a deformed young man named Sarutahikone who wants him to change his face. Simultaneously, the audience is shown a news broadcast of a murdered mother and son; the suspected killer is the twin brother- Sarutahikone. The audience is led to believe that he is attempting to escape, using Black Jack to help him disguise himself. In fact, Sarutahikone had come upon the scene of his brother killing their mother and killed him in self-defense. It's explained that their mother had been sexually abusing the twin before Black Jack removed her brain tumour years ago, and the twin had killed her when she refused to rekindle the relationship.
  • Deadman Wonderland: The tiny little Undertaker Hibana Daida was imprisoned for murdering her mother, who had subjected her to horrific abuse.
  • Detective School Q: Played with for horrible drama. Kunihiko and Akihiko Ichinose did not know that the Phony Psychic they murdered to protect their sister Kaoru was their mother Hanako (who was believed to be dead) under a disguise. When they're told the truth, both cross the Despair Event Horizon and have to be stopped from going the Murder-Suicide way.
  • Aiko killed her abusive mother who tried to kill her in Oyasumi Punpun. Originally it seemed like Punpun killed her but Aiko reveals to him later that her mom survived him stabbing her. When he wasn't looking Aiko delivered the final blow.

     Comic Books  

  • Locke & Key: Ellie Whedon comes really, really close to pushing her horrible mother off a cliff after she puts a cigarette out on her son's neck, but can't go through with it. However, the evil spirit she unwittingly unleashes a few pages later has no such hesitation.
  • X-23: As the final act of his descent into evil, Dr. Zander Rice laced X-23 mother, Dr. Sarah Kinney, with the trigger scent. Laura was sent into an Unstoppable Rage and killed her as a result, just as Sarah was putting her plan to escape the Facility with her altogether in motion. However, Laura did eventually reconnect with her genetic father Wolverine.
  • Played with in a Batman / Alien crossover where the head of a weapons company turns some of Batman's villains (including the Joker and Poison Ivy) into human/alien hybrids. She has the DNA injected into herself as well so they won't attack her, seeing her as the Queen. For whatever reason, it didn't take when Killer Croc was hybridized, and he messily devours her.
  • Warlord of Mars: Kajak Thoris poisoned his own mother Heru on belief he was given as hostage to a rival city-state when as a child, when in reality, he was kidnapped by their enemies and raised to think his family abandoned him.

     Fan Works  

     Film  

  • Alien: Resurrection: Played with. The Newborn, immediately after being born, inspects the Queen Alien and kills her. However, he then thinks of Ripley as his real mother, and acts affectionately towards her.
  • Feed: Michael Carter, the archvillain of this Aussie horror flick, smothered his obese mother when he was a child. He's locked into a cycle of repeating the same murder as an adult.
  • Psycho: Norman Bates is one of the most iconic modern examples. His mother Norma sheltered him extensively after the death of her husband, making Norman form a codependent attachment to his mother. When she found a new paramour, Norman murdered his mother, causing him to develop a second personality modelled after her to conceal this crime from himself.
  • Dragonheart: After the tyrannical King Einon's mother tries to kill the dragon who provides Einon with immortality as long as their hearts are shared, he murders her without remorse to cement how evil he is.
  • Carrie: The title character kills her mother Margaret in self-defense as her mother was trying to kill her.
  • Taking Lives: Soon after the Serial Killer's mother reveals his identity to the police, she's found in an elevator with her head sawed off by her blood-drenched son.
  • Scream:
    • Scream 3: The Ghostface who turns out to have been The Man Behind the Man for the one from the first movie reveals that he arranged for his biological mother to be murdered by his accomplice because he was revolted that he had been born of rape and deemed her a whore.
    • Scream 4: The new Ghostface willingly kills her own mother to replicate the missing-mother motif that Sidney Prescott had to live with.
  • Spider: Clegg is horrified to discover that he murdered his mother during one of his hallucinations as a kid. It's the reason he's been institutionalized ever since.
  • Blade: Blade discovers that Deacon Frost had turned his mother into a vampire when he inadvertently made the unborn Blade a dhampyr. Blade is eventually forced to destroy her for good when he sees how horrible she has become.

     Literature  

  • A Brother's Price has villains who are evil enough to do this. The reason being they needed to sacrifice someone of their family to make themselves look like fellow victims, and their mothers had become senile and were talking about family secrets too carelessly.
  • Coraline: Possibly subverted. The Other Mother has put her Mother to the grave, "And when I caught her trying to crawl out". So the Mother of Other Mother perhaps isn't exactly dead, by for all intents and purposes, she is.
  • The Dark Tower: Roland Deschain accidentally shot his mother dead.
  • Carrie. Abusive Margaret is killed off by her daughter Carrie while she was stabbing the latter in a manic fit. Carrie's father died in a work-related accident before his daughter's birth.

     Live Action TV  

  • In Renegadepress.com's "Sullengirl16", rumours and speculation fly about a new posting on renegadepress.com in which a girl claims to have killed her mother.
  • Sons of Anarchy. Jax Teller ultimately kills his mother Gemma in the last season after he discovers that she's betrayed the club and murdered Jax's wife Tara. Nero notes that the severity of the act will destroy Jax, and he admits that despite everything she's done he still loves his mom. It's enough for Jax to wilfully arrange his own death in the series finale.
  • V (2009)
    • After a Hope Spot which saw Diana take power back from her evil child and declare an era of peace with humans, Anna then returned, claiming that she now understands human emotion like love and caring. However, she then sneeks up behind her mom and impales her with her tail to cement her status as queen.
    • Anna's daughter Lisa almost became one in the same episode as the fifth column used her as a Decoy Damsel to lure her evil mother out so she could stab her in the back and end the war. However, the Manipulative Bitch convinced her that she had changed her ways and now cared about her and her Too Dumb to Live daughter actually believed it. After murdering Diana, Anna even boasts about how she manipulated her own child, telling her "now that is how you kill your mother".
  • Once Upon a Time
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike resurrected his mother as a vampire after her untimely death, but losing her soul made her become a vile monster. After she tells Spike how much she hates him and tries to seduce him, the horrified Spike stakes her to kill her for good.
  • The Sopranos: Subverted in the season 1 finale. Livia Soprano manipulates Uncle Junior to arrange a hit on her son Tony (Junior's nephew) out of resentment for putting her in a nursing home. After Tony's faction wins the civil war against Junior, Tony tries to smother Livia with a pillow, but ultimately decides against it.
  • Millennium: The Monster of the Week in the season 1 finale "Paper Dove" kills his mother after he becomes fed up with her overbearing behavior. He was already a Serial Killer before that, unbeknownst to her.
  • Dexter: The major antagonist of the final season ends up killing his own mother after she realizes that he's an irredeemably cold-blooded killer. He had already killed his brother when he was younger.
    Mother chose the wrong son...again.
  • Orphan Black: Helena stabs her birth mother Amelia for separating her from her twin sister Sarah. Helena grew up in a Ukrainian convent run by abusive nuns while Sarah ended up a foster kid in England. However, Sarah wanted to get to know Amelia and disowns Helena for killing her.

     Theatre  

  • The Adding Machine: Zero, in the afterlife, meets another murderer who believes his own matricide to be a more heinous crime than Zero murdering his boss. Even though he killed her accidentally while trying to slice a leg of lamb, he accepted the minister's word that this was absolute proof of his sinful nature and he would surely be doomed to suffer in Fire and Brimstone Hell for eternity (which turns out not to be the case).

     Video Games  

  • Bioshock 2: Depending on the player's actions, Eleanor will either save or drown her mother.
  • In The Binding of Isaac the Final Boss Isaac faces on the first playthrough is Mom, with the theme that plays during the fight in Rebirth is even titled "Matricide". In this case it's slightly more justified because your Mom has seemingly heard the voice of God telling her to kill you and decided to prove her faith by doing so.
  • Dirge of Cerberus: Nero the Sable, one of the Tsviets, inadvertently sent his own birthmother into another dimension while she was giving birth to him due to his powers, which also acted as the reason why Shinra bound his arms as well as presumably limited his overall power.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect: If you take Liara on the Noveria mission, she takes part in the death of her own mother, Benezia.
    • Mass Effect 2: If you can resist Morinth's mind control, you and she can kill her mother.
  • System Shock: The Many, that annelid Body Horror, certainly want to do this to the "Machine Mother" who created them. Instead, the avatar of SHODAN kills them.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening features a subversion. Regardless of how the game is played, Lucina decides to try and kill the Avatar to try and avert the Bad Future that she came from. If a female Avatar is her mother, Lucina even says "I know this is matricide...". However, regardless of if the player elects to accept her judgement or not, Lucina loves her too much to go through with it.

    Visual Novels 

     Webcomics  

  • Drowtales: The three Sharen sisters send mommy dearest to her room permanently so they can rule Chel'el'Sussoloth in a demonic triumvirate. Their dialog as they do it is especially cold. Made worse by the fact that to elves and drow, killing one's own mother is viewed as the worst crime one can commit, with someone who does it or willing to do it being viewed as the worst kind of person. Drow insults reflect this, with "Motherkiller" and "Motherkilling" being the most used insult and curse by their race.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: An interesting example, where Annie kills her mother without realizing it by simply being alive, due to them both being fire elementals. However, in chapter 36, her father is confirmed alive.
  • In Headless Bliss, the demon queen Diov apparently killed her own mother for going against the natural order of demon existence by providing a loving, nurturing relationship to those under her rule.
  • In Nodwick, Orville is a dragon whose species is driven by instinct to kill their mothers, and this works to the heroes' advantage at one point. Elonan uses a spell that causes the heroes to perceive her zombies as their parents or former mentors, intending to fool them into being vulnerable to their attacks, and this almost works. However, because Orville regards his mother as an enemy, he becomes enraged and incinerates them.
  • In Sailor Moon Cosmos Arc Usagi let a brainwashed Chibiusa do this. It ends up breaking Chibiusa and Endymion's brainwashing.

     Western Animation  

  • The Legend of Calamity Jane: It is very subtly implied in the episode "Easy as One, Two, Three..." that Conrad killed the mother of him and his two brothers. He spends the episode repeating her advice and what her opinion would be of their actions, but when one of his brothers asks why he cannot just leave her in her grave, he responds that he did leave her in her grave.
  • South Park: Subverted in "Tsst", when Cartman decides that his mother Liane has to die after she stops indulging him and finally succeeds in disciplining her bratty son. This attempt on his mother's life causes Cartman to go through a Split Personality struggle as he destroys his evil side (parodying a scene from Altered States).
  • A truly heroic example in Samurai Jack Season 5, when Ashi pitches an arrow through her mother's back when the latter is leaping to kill a meditating Jack.

     Real Life  

  • On December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut, Adam Lanza had shot and killed his mother Nancy before embarking on a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which he murdered 20 children and 6 adults before killing himself.
  • Similarly, Charles Whitman killed his wife and his mother before killing another 14 from a bell tower at the University of Texas in Austin.
  • The Roman Emperor Nero had his mother Agrippina killed. She in turn had probably poisoned her husband Claudius after convincing him to adopt Nero, hoping she could rule Rome through him. When his assassins met her, she bared her chest and told them to stab her where Nero came from. Another piece of evidence linking him to Anti-Christ.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Matricide