Filicide is the deliberate act of a parent
A parent is a caretaker of the offspring in their own species. In humans, a parent is of a child . Children can have one or more parents, but they must have two biological parents. Biological parents consist of the male who sired the child and the female who gave birth to the child...

 killing his or her own son
A son is a male offspring; a boy or man in relation to his parents. The female analogue is a daughter.-Social issues regarding sons:In pre-industrial societies and some current countries with agriculture-based economies, a higher value was, and still is, assigned to sons rather than daughters,...

 or daughter
A daughter is a female offspring; a girl, woman, or female animal in relation to her parents. The male equivalent is a son. Analogously the name is used on several areas to show relations between groups or elements.-Etymology:...

. The word filicide derives from the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 words filius meaning "son" or filia meaning daughter and the suffix -cide meaning to kill, murder, or cause death. "A filicide" may refer to the parent who killed his or her child as well as to the criminal act that the parent committed.

In some cultures, killing a daughter who is deemed to have disgraced the family is a common occurrence -see honor killing
Honor killing
An honor killing or honour killing is the homicide of a member of a family or social group by other members, due to the belief of the perpetrators that the victim has brought dishonor upon the family or community...


A 1999 US Department of Justice study concluded that between 1976 and 1997 in the United States, mothers were responsible for a higher share of children killed during infancy, while fathers were more likely to have been responsible for the murders of children age 8 or older. Furthermore, 52% of the children killed by their mothers were male (maternal filicide), while 57% of the children killed by their fathers were male (paternal filicide). Parents were responsible for 61% of children murders under the age of five; filicide is the third leading cause of death amongst American children five to fourteen years old.

Sometimes, there is a combination of murder and suicide in filicide cases.

Known or suspected filicides

  • Ptolemy XII of Egypt had his daughter Berenice IV and her husband beheaded
    Decapitation is the separation of the head from the body. Beheading typically refers to the act of intentional decapitation, e.g., as a means of murder or execution; it may be accomplished, for example, with an axe, sword, knife, wire, or by other more sophisticated means such as a guillotine...

     in 55 BC. This was after she had dethroned him and poisoned her sister, Cleopatra VI
    Cleopatra VI of Egypt
    Cleopatra VI Tryphaena was an Egyptian Ptolemaic queen. She may be identical with Cleopatra V.There were at least two, perhaps three Ptolemaic women called Cleopatra Tryphaena:-Tryphaena, daughter of Ptolemy VIII Physcon and Cleopatra III:...

  • Lucius Junius Brutus
    Lucius Junius Brutus
    Lucius Junius Brutus was the founder of the Roman Republic and traditionally one of the first consuls in 509 BC. He was claimed as an ancestor of the Roman gens Junia, including Marcus Junius Brutus, the most famous of Caesar's assassins.- Background :...

    , one of the founders of the Roman republic, famously condemns his sons to death who were conspiring to overthrow the newly established order. See Machiavelli's Discourses on Livy
    Discourses on Livy
    The Discourses on Livy is a work of political history and philosophy written in the early 16th century by the Italian writer and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli, best known as the author of The Prince...

    , Book I, Chapter 16 and Book III, Chapter 3.
  • Ivan IV of Russia
    Ivan IV of Russia
    Ivan IV Vasilyevich , known in English as Ivan the Terrible , was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 until his death. His long reign saw the conquest of the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, transforming Russia into a multiethnic and multiconfessional state spanning almost one billion acres,...

     (Ivan the Terrible) killed his son and heir to the throne.
  • Peter the Great of Russia
    Peter I of Russia
    Peter the Great, Peter I or Pyotr Alexeyevich Romanov Dates indicated by the letters "O.S." are Old Style. All other dates in this article are New Style. ruled the Tsardom of Russia and later the Russian Empire from until his death, jointly ruling before 1696 with his half-brother, Ivan V...

     had his son tortured to death, being present at several of the torture sessions and allegedly participating in some of them.
  • Josef and Magda Goebbels
    Magda Goebbels
    Johanna Maria Magdalena "Magda" Goebbels was the wife of Nazi Germany's Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels...

     poisoned their six children
    Goebbels children
    The Goebbels children were the five daughters and one son born to Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and his wife Magda Goebbels. The children, born between 1932 and 1940, were murdered by their parents in Berlin on May 1, 1945, the day both parents committed suicide.Magda Goebbels had an...

     near the close of the Battle of Berlin
    Battle of Berlin
    The Battle of Berlin, designated the Berlin Strategic Offensive Operation by the Soviet Union, was the final major offensive of the European Theatre of World War II....

    , before committing suicide.
  • Motown singer-songwriter Marvin Gaye
    Marvin Gaye
    Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr. , better known by his stage name Marvin Gaye, was an American singer-songwriter and musician with a three-octave vocal range....

     was shot to death by his father on April 1, 1984.
  • Judith Barsi
    Judith Barsi
    Judith Eva Barsi was an American child actress. She was small in stature and often played characters younger than her actual age...

    , the voice of Ducky in The Land Before Time
    The Land Before Time
    The Land Before Time is a 1988 American animated adventure film directed and co-produced by Don Bluth , and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, and Frank Marshall....

    , was shot to death by her father at the age of ten on July 25, 1988.
  • Susan Smith
    Susan Smith
    Susan Leigh Vaughan Smith is an American woman sentenced to life in prison for murdering her children. Born in Union, South Carolina, and a former student of the University of South Carolina Union, she was convicted on July 22, 1995 of murdering her two sons, 3-year-old Michael Daniel Smith, born...

     was convicted on July 22, 1995 of murdering her two sons, age 3 and 14 months, by letting her car roll into a lake, drowning her children inside. Her alleged motive for the deaths was to dispose of her children so that she might have a relationship with a wealthy local man who had no interest in a "ready-made" family. Smith initially claimed that a black man stole her car and kidnapped her sons with the search gaining worldwide attention.
  • Andrea Yates
    Andrea Yates
    Andrea Yates is a former Houston, Texas resident who killed her five children on June 20, 2001 by drowning them in the bathtub in her house. She had been suffering for some time with very severe postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis...

     suffering from very severe postpartum depression
    Postpartum depression
    Postpartum depression , also called postnatal depression, is a form of clinical depression which can affect women, and less frequently men, typically after childbirth. Studies report prevalence rates among women from 5% to 25%, but methodological differences among the studies make the actual...

     and postpartum psychosis
    Postpartum psychosis
    Postpartum psychosis is a term that covers a group of mental illnesses with the sudden onset of psychotic symptoms following childbirth. In this group there are at least a dozen organic psychoses, which are described under another heading "organic pre- and postpartum psychoses"...

     killed her five children in 2001. Her case placed the M'Naghten Rules
    M'Naghten Rules
    The M'Naghten rules were a reaction to the acquittal of Daniel McNaughton. They arise from the attempted assassination of the British Prime Minister, Robert Peel, in 1843 by Daniel M'Naghten. In fact, M'Naghten fired a pistol at the back of Peel's secretary, Edward Drummond, who died five days later...

    , a legal test for sanity, under close public scrutiny in the United States.
  • Professional wrestler Chris Benoit
    Chris Benoit
    Christopher Michael "Chris" Benoit was a Canadian professional wrestler whose career and life ended in a murder–suicide...

     killed his seven-year-old son Daniel, along with
    Chris Benoit double murder and suicide
    The Chris Benoit double murder suicide occurred over a three-day period ending on June 24, 2007. World Wrestling Entertainment professional wrestler Chris Benoit killed his wife, Nancy Benoit, strangled his seven-year-old son, Daniel, and subsequently committed suicide by hanging. Autopsy results...

     his wife and himself, on June 23, 2007.

Filicides in religion, myth and folklore

  • In the Hebrew Bible
    Hebrew Bible
    The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

    , Genesis 22:1-24 tells a story in which God test's Abraham's faith by ordering him to sacrifice his son, Isaac
    Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

    , on Mount Moriah. Just before he carries through with the order, an angel of God stops him, then God rewards him and Isaac for their willingness to do anything for Him. Biblical scholars point to sources with an alternate version of the story where Isaac's life is spared because Isaac changes his mind, in defiance of God's order. Yet still is a version of the story from a scant minority of rabbinic sources which says that Abraham did follow through with sacrificing Isaac's life, but then God miraculously resurrected Isaac from the dead.

  • Multiple works of Greek mythology address filicide:
    • Hercules
      Hercules is the Roman name for Greek demigod Heracles, son of Zeus , and the mortal Alcmene...

       of Greek mythology
      Greek mythology
      Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

       killed his wife and children in a fit of rage induced by Hera
      Hera was the wife and one of three sisters of Zeus in the Olympian pantheon of Greek mythology and religion. Her chief function was as the goddess of women and marriage. Her counterpart in the religion of ancient Rome was Juno. The cow and the peacock were sacred to her...

    • In Euripedes' The Bacchae
      The Bacchae
      The Bacchae is an ancient Greek tragedy by the Athenian playwright Euripides, during his final years in Macedon, at the court of Archelaus I of Macedon. It premiered posthumously at the Theatre of Dionysus in 405 BC as part of a tetralogy that also included Iphigeneia at Aulis, and which...

      , Agave
      Agave (mythology)
      In Greek mythology, Agave was the daughter of Cadmus, the king and founder of the city of Thebes, Greece, and of the goddess Harmonia. Her sisters were Autonoë, Ino and Semele, and her brother was Polydorus. She married Echion, one of the five Spartoi, and was the mother of Pentheus, a king of...

       kills her son Pentheus
      In Greek mythology, Pentheus was a king of Thebes, son of the strongest of the Spartes, Echion, and of Agave, daughter of Cadmus, the founder of Thebes, and the goddess Harmonia....

       while possessed by Dionysus
      Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

    • Agamemnon
      In Greek mythology, Agamemnon was the son of King Atreus and Queen Aerope of Mycenae, the brother of Menelaus, the husband of Clytemnestra, and the father of Electra and Orestes. Mythical legends make him the king of Mycenae or Argos, thought to be different names for the same area...

       sacrifices his daughter, Iphigeneia
      Iphigenia is a daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra in Greek mythology. In Attic accounts, her name means "strong-born", "born to strength", or "she who causes the birth of strong offspring."-Post-Homeric Greek myth:...

      , to the goddess Artemis
      Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

       in Aeschylus
      Aeschylus was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose work has survived, the others being Sophocles and Euripides, and is often described as the father of tragedy. His name derives from the Greek word aiskhos , meaning "shame"...

      ' The Oresteia
      The Oresteia
      The Oresteia is a trilogy of Greek tragedies written by Aeschylus which concerns the end of the curse on the House of Atreus. When originally performed it was accompanied by Proteus, a satyr play that would have been performed following the trilogy; it has not survived...

      and in Euripides
      Euripides was one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens, the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles. Some ancient scholars attributed ninety-five plays to him but according to the Suda it was ninety-two at most...

      ' Iphigeneia at Aulis
      Iphigeneia at Aulis
      Iphigenia in Aulis is the last extant work of the playwright Euripides. Written between 408, after the Orestes, and 406 BC, the year of Euripides's death, the play was first produced the following year by his son or nephew, Euripides the Younger, and won the first place at the Athenian city...

    • In Euripedes' play, Medea
      Medea (play)
      Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy written by Euripides, based upon the myth of Jason and Medea and first produced in 431 BC. The plot centers on the barbarian protagonist as she finds her position in the Greek world threatened, and the revenge she takes against her husband Jason who has betrayed...

      , Medea
      Medea is a woman in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of King Aeëtes of Colchis, niece of Circe, granddaughter of the sun god Helios, and later wife to the hero Jason, with whom she had two children, Mermeros and Pheres. In Euripides's play Medea, Jason leaves Medea when Creon, king of...

       kills her children, in retaliation for being abandoned by her husband, Jason
      Jason was a late ancient Greek mythological hero from the late 10th Century BC, famous as the leader of the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece. He was the son of Aeson, the rightful king of Iolcus...

    • Orchamus
      Orchamus was a king in Greek mythology. He had two daughters: Leucothea and Clytia. Leucothea loved Apollo, the sun god. Apollo disguised himself as Leucothea's mother to gain entrance to her chambers. Clytia, jealous of her sister because she wanted Apollo for herself, told Orchamus the truth,...

      , a king in Greek mythology
      Greek mythology
      Greek mythology is the body of myths and legends belonging to the ancient Greeks, concerning their gods and heroes, the nature of the world, and the origins and significance of their own cult and ritual practices. They were a part of religion in ancient Greece...

       ordered his daughter Leucothea
      In Greek mythology, Leucothea , "white goddess") was one of the aspects under which an ancient sea goddess was recognized, in this case as a transformed nymph....

       buried alive upon learning that she was in love with Apollo
      Apollo is one of the most important and complex of the Olympian deities in Greek and Roman mythology...

  • The Hispanic America
    Hispanic America
    Hispanic America or Spanish America is the region comprising the American countries inhabited by Spanish-speaking populations.These countries have significant commonalities with each other and with Spain, whose colonies they formerly were...

    n folktale, La Llorona
    La Llorona
    La Llorona is a widespread legend in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Central America. Although several variations exist, the basic story tells of a beautiful woman by the name of Maria killing her children by drowning them, in order to be with the man that she loved. When the man rejects her, she kills...

    (The Weeping Woman), tells of a woman, Maria, whose husband is unfaithful. In her rage, she throws their children into the river, where they are drowned.
  • In the Ulster Cycle
    Ulster Cycle
    The Ulster Cycle , formerly known as the Red Branch Cycle, one of the four great cycles of Irish mythology, is a body of medieval Irish heroic legends and sagas of the traditional heroes of the Ulaid in what is now eastern Ulster and northern Leinster, particularly counties Armagh, Down and...

     of Irish mythology
    Irish mythology
    The mythology of pre-Christian Ireland did not entirely survive the conversion to Christianity, but much of it was preserved, shorn of its religious meanings, in medieval Irish literature, which represents the most extensive and best preserved of all the branch and the Historical Cycle. There are...

    , Cuchulainn
    Cú Chulainn or Cúchulainn , and sometimes known in English as Cuhullin , is an Irish mythological hero who appears in the stories of the Ulster Cycle, as well as in Scottish and Manx folklore...

     unwittingly kills his son Conlaoch
    Connla or Conlaoch is a character in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology, the son of the Ulster champion Cú Chulainn and the Scottish warrior woman Aífe. He was raised alone by his mother in Scotland...

     when Conlaoch arrives in Ulster and, under a geis from his mother, the warrior queen Aoife
    Aífe is a character from the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. She appears in the sagas Tochmarc Emire and Aided Óenfhir Aífe . In Tochmarc Emire she lives east of a land called Alpi, usually understood to mean Alba , where she is at war with a rival warrior-woman, Scáthach...

    , refuses to give his name to the king. Cuchulainn recognizes his son by a golden ring only after he inflicts a mortal wound with his magical spear, the Gae Bolga.

In gaming

  • In game Bayonetta
    is a hack and slash action game for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 developed by Platinum Games in cooperation with publisher Sega. Set in a fictional city in Europe, the game centers on its title character, Bayonetta, who uses pistols and magical attacks to defeat enemies...

    , Balder, the last Lumen Sage attempts to sacrifice his daughter Cereza/Bayonetta to the goddess Jubileus.
  • In the video game Castlevania
    Castlevania 64
    Castlevania, known in Japan as , is an action-adventure video game developed by Konami's Kobe branch for the Nintendo 64 video game console. It was released on a 64-megabit cartridge in North America on January 26, 1999, in Japan on March 11, 1999, and in Europe on May 14, 1999...

    , a witch named Actrise relishes the memory of sacrificing her child to the Devil in return for eternal life.
  • In the Devil Summoner
    Devil Summoner
    is a Japanese console role-playing game originally released for the Sega Saturn in 1995, and later re-released in a slightly-enhanced port for the PlayStation Portable in 2005. The game was never released in North America, though at one time a release of the Sega Saturn version was planned and...

    video games, Raidou Kuzunoha the 14th learns that the Tsukigata family sacrifices their daughters to the deformed Tento Lords in order to acquire more luck locusts.
  • In the game Galerians
    is a PlayStation video game developed by Polygon Magic. It was originally published in Japan by Enterbrain, and published by Crave Entertainment for North America. Galerians is a psychic survival horror game with a dark setting. It follows a boy named Rion who discovers he has psychic powers...

    , Dorothy kills any of her Galerian children who dare to defy her, with the most notable disobedient Galerian being the protagonist Rion.
  • In the PS2 God of War (video game)
    God of War (video game)
    God of War is an action adventure video game for the PlayStation 2 first released by Sony Computer Entertainment's Santa Monica division in March 2005...

     series, Kratos
    Kratos (God of War)
    Kratos is a video game character from Sony Computer Entertainment'sGod of War series, which is loosely based on Greek mythology. Kratos first appeared in the highly successful video game God of War , which led to the development of five additional games featuring the character as the protagonist...

     is tricked, by Ares, previous god of war, in the series, into killing his own child and his wife. Kratos decides to get back at Ares
    Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent aspect of war, in contrast to the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and...

     for doing so, as well as for what Ares did to Athens.
  • In the PS2 sequel to God of War (video game)
    God of War (video game)
    God of War is an action adventure video game for the PlayStation 2 first released by Sony Computer Entertainment's Santa Monica division in March 2005...

    , God of War II
    God of War II
    God of War II is an action-adventure video game released for the PlayStation 2 by Sony Computer Entertainment's Santa Monica division in March, 2007....

    , Zeus kills Kratos, though the protagonist changes events in time and prevents this from happening, making it attempted filicide.
  • In Silent Hill 3
    Silent Hill 3
    Silent Hill 3 is a survival horror video game published by Konami for the PlayStation 2 and developed by Team Silent, a production group within Konami Computer Entertainment Tokyo. It is the third installment in the Silent Hill series and a direct sequel to the first Silent Hill game...

    , Harry Mason mentioned in one of his notes he left behind in Silent Hill that he considered killing his foster child Heather/Cheryl at one point in his life.
  • In Silent Hill: Homecoming, several cult members sacrifice their children. Also, in one of the endings, Alex Shepherd is murdered by his father.
  • In the events of Soul Calibur
    Soul Calibur
    is a 3D, weapons-based fighting game developed by Project Soul and produced by Namco. It is the second game in the Soul series, preceeded by Soul Edge. It was released in arcades in 1998, and it ran on the Namco System 12 hardware. In 1999 it was ported to the Dreamcast with improved graphics and...

    IV, Ivy was attack by Cervantes De Leon, who biologically is Ivy's father, Cervantes cosumed most of Ivy's soul and thought to have killed her. but Ivy used an artificial soul to save herself.
  • In the "evil" endings of The Suffering
    The Suffering (video game)
    The Suffering is a video game developed by Surreal Software and published by Midway Games, released in 2004 for the Xbox, PlayStation 2 and PC. The game featured monster designs by Stan Winston.-Story:...

    video games, Torque murders his two sons and wife.
  • In the Bandai Namco arcade fighting game series Tekken the character Heihachi Mishima attempted to kill his son, Kazuya Mishima, several times by throwing him off a mountain cliff at the age of five, and throwing him into a volcano years later. Heihachi also attempted to kill the protagonist, his grandson Jin Kazama, by shooting him, although he survived the gunshot.

In literature

  • In the V.C. Andrews novel Flowers in the Attic
    Flowers in the Attic
    Flowers in the Attic is a 1979 novel by Virginia Andrews. It is the first book in the Dollanganger Series, and was followed by Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, and Garden of Shadows. The novel is written in the first person from the point of view of Cathy Dollanganger...

    , Corrine kills her young son Cory and then tries to kill her other children (including main character Cathy) with arsenic in order to get her parents' inheritance.
  • In the Septimus Heap
    Septimus Heap
    Septimus Heap is a series of fantasy novels featuring a protagonist of the same name written by English author Angie Sage. Six novels, entitled Magyk, Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren and Darke, have been published, the first in 2005 and the most recent in 2011...

     book series, the third book Physik
    Physik is the third book in the Septimus Heap series written by Angie Sage. It is the sequel to Flyte. The novel was released on March 28, 2007. The sequel of Physik is Queste...

    has the character Queen Etheldredda who killed her own daughters so that she will have unparalleled control over the kingdom and no one can be her successor.
  • In the book series Warriors by Erin Hunter, Yellowfang kills her son Brokentail. It was a mercy killing because Brokentail was blind and sustained very bad, permanent injuries. Yellowfang killed him with a heavy heart to end his suffering. Brokentail had also plotted with Tigerstar to lead a band of rogues to kill Bluestar.
  • In Kathryn Lasky's book series Guardians of Ga'Hoole
    Guardians of Ga'Hoole
    Guardians of Ga’Hoole is a fantasy book series written by Kathryn Lasky and published by Scholastic. The series, which ended in 2008 with the publication of The War of the Ember, has a total of fifteen books. Apart from the main series there are a few more books and spin offs set in the same universe...

    , Nyra, evil queen of the Pure Ones, tries to kill her son Nyroc (later Coryn) after he left the Pure Ones. However, Nyra's close ally, the Striga, kills Coryn in book 15.
  • In 1987 novel Beloved
    Beloved (novel)
    Beloved is a novel by the American writer Toni Morrison, published in 1987. Set in 1873 just after the American Civil War , it is based on the story of the African-American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio, a free state...

    by Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved...

     and the 1999 film adaptation of the same name
    Beloved (film)
    Beloved is a 1998 film based on Toni Morrison's 1987 novel of the same name. It was directed by Jonathan Demme, and was produced by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions. The film stars Oprah Winfrey and Danny Glover.-Plot:...

    , Sethe murders her two-year-old daughter to save her from being returned to slavery.
  • In Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus
    Titus Andronicus
    Titus Andronicus is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, and possibly George Peele, believed to have been written between 1588 and 1593. It is thought to be Shakespeare's first tragedy, and is often seen as his attempt to emulate the violent and bloody revenge plays of his contemporaries, which were...

    , the title character kills his daughter Lavinia. This is an attempt to restore her honor after she was rape
    Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

    d, her hands were amputated
    Amputation is the removal of a body extremity by trauma, prolonged constriction, or surgery. As a surgical measure, it is used to control pain or a disease process in the affected limb, such as malignancy or gangrene. In some cases, it is carried out on individuals as a preventative surgery for...

    , and her tongue cut out. Titus previously kills her attackers (then apparently puts pieces of the men's dead bodies into a pie that he serves their mother), marking this play as Shakespeare's most gruesome.
  • In William Styron
    William Styron
    William Clark Styron, Jr. was an American novelist and essayist who won major literary awards for his work.For much of his career, Styron was best known for his novels, which included...

    's novel Sophie's Choice
    Sophie's Choice (novel)
    Sophie's Choice is a novel by William Styron published in 1979. It concerns a young American Southerner, an aspiring writer, who befriends the Jewish Nathan Landau and his beautiful lover Sophie, a Polish survivor of the Nazi concentration camps...

    , the title character is ordered by a Nazi to choose between her two children, telling her that the one she chooses will live, the other will die.
  • In Horace Walpole's 1764 novel, The Castle of Otranto
    The Castle of Otranto
    The Castle of Otranto is a 1764 novel by Horace Walpole. It is generally regarded as the first gothic novel, initiating a literary genre which would become extremely popular in the later 18th century and early 19th century...

    , the main protagonist Manfred, a usurping prince, murders his daughter Matilda.

In music

  • In the story line of Alternative Rock band "Coheed and Cambria", Coheed is tricked into killing three of his children, Maria, Matthew, and Josephine. His son, Claudio, manages to escape.

  • In the song "The River Saile
    The River Saile
    The River Saile is a children's nursery rhyme from Ireland. This type of song is also known as a murder ballad or Child ballad, named for Francis James Child who was the first person to catalogue them before his death in 1896...

    [The River Saile]" by the Irish band, The Dubliners, the main character kills her own child with a pen-knife

Onscreen, in film

  • The 2007 film Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
    Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
    Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is a 2007 crime drama directed by Sidney Lumet and written by Kelly Masterson. It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Marisa Tomei, and Albert Finney. The title comes from the Irish saying: "May you be in heaven a full half-hour before the devil knows...

    ends with a scene in which the character played by Albert Finney
    Albert Finney
    Albert Finney is an English actor. He achieved prominence in films in the early 1960s, and has maintained a successful career in theatre, film and television....

     smothers his son (played by Philip Seymour Hoffman
    Philip Seymour Hoffman
    Philip Seymour Hoffman is an American actor and director. Hoffman began acting in television in 1991, and the following year started to appear in films...

    ) with a pillow after Hoffman's character confesses that he was responsible for the botched robbery that resulted in his mother's death.
  • In the 1990 film The Grifters
    The Grifters (film)
    The Grifters is a 1990 neo-noir film directed by Stephen Frears and produced by Martin Scorsese. It stars John Cusack, Anjelica Huston and Annette Bening and is based upon The Grifters, a pulp novel by Jim Thompson.-Plot:...

    , con artist Lilly Dillon unintentionally kills her son while trying to take his money.
  • In the director's cut of the 2005 film Kingdom of Heaven
    Kingdom of Heaven (film)
    Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 epic action film directed by Ridley Scott and written by William Monahan. It stars Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Jeremy Irons, David Thewlis, Marton Csokas, Brendan Gleeson, Kevin McKidd, Alexander Siddig, Ghassan Massoud, Edward Norton, Jon Finch, Michael Sheen and Liam...

    , Sibylla of Jerusalem
    Sibylla of Jerusalem
    Sibylla of Jerusalem was the Countess of Jaffa and Ascalon from 1176 and Queen of Jerusalem from 1186 to 1190. She was the eldest daughter of Amalric I of Jerusalem and Agnes of Courtenay, sister of Baldwin IV and half-sister of Isabella I of Jerusalem, and mother of Baldwin V of Jerusalem...

     poisons her son Baldwin V to spare his suffering when he is diagnosed with leprosy
    Leprosy or Hansen's disease is a chronic disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium leprae and Mycobacterium lepromatosis. Named after physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, leprosy is primarily a granulomatous disease of the peripheral nerves and mucosa of the upper respiratory tract; skin lesions...

  • In the 2007 film Stephen King's The Mist
    The Mist (film)
    The Mist is a 2007 American science-fiction horror film based on the 1980 novella of the same name by Stephen King. The film is written and directed by Frank Darabont, who had previously adapted Stephen King's works The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile...

    , the main character, David Drayton, murders his son to save him being slaughtered by vicious creatures.

Onscreen, in television

  • In the Fox Network show 24
    24 (TV series)
    24 is an American television series produced for the Fox Network and syndicated worldwide, starring Kiefer Sutherland as Counter Terrorist Unit agent Jack Bauer. Each 24-episode season covers 24 hours in the life of Bauer, using the real time method of narration...

    , Graem Bauer (Paul McCrane
    Paul McCrane
    Paul David McCrane is an American film, television and theatre actor, as well as an occasional television director. He is perhaps best known for his portrayal of Montgomery MacNeil in the 1980 film Fame and Dr. Robert Romano on the NBC medical drama television series ER.-Early life:McCrane was...

    ) is killed by his father, Phillip Bauer (James Cromwell
    James Cromwell
    James Oliver Cromwell is an American film and television actor. Some of his more notable roles are in Babe , for which he earned Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Star Trek: First Contact , L.A...

    ) before he can reveal Phillip's involvement in the nuclear attacks against America in Season 6.
  • On the finale of the TV show Alias
    Alias (TV series)
    Alias is an American action television series created by J. J. Abrams which was broadcast on ABC for five seasons, from September 30, 2001 to May 22, 2006...

    , CIA agent Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner
    Jennifer Garner
    Jennifer Anne Affleck , better known as Jennifer Garner, is an American actress and film producer. Garner gained recognition on television for her performance as CIA agent Sydney Bristow in the thriller drama series Alias, which aired on ABC for five seasons from 2001 to 2006...

    ) is nearly killed by her mother and former KGB agent, Irina Derevko (Lena Olin
    Lena Olin
    Lena Maria Jonna Olin is a Swedish actress.-Early life:Olin was born the youngest of three children, in Stockholm, Sweden. She is the daughter of actress Britta Holmberg and the director Stig Olin...

    ), during a desperate fight on a Tokyo rooftop. Sydney kicks Irina onto a glass ceiling, from which she falls to her death.
  • In the Code Geass anime
    is the Japanese abbreviated pronunciation of "animation". The definition sometimes changes depending on the context. In English-speaking countries, the term most commonly refers to Japanese animated cartoons....

    , Charles makes a last ditch attempt to strangle his son, Lelouch, after the latter used his geass to disintegrate him.
  • The CBS TV series, Cold Case, has featured multiple episodes wherein filicide has occurred.
  • In the Death Note
    Death Note
    is a manga created by writer Tsugumi Ohba and manga artist Takeshi Obata. The main character is Light Yagami, a high school student who discovers a supernatural notebook, the "Death Note", dropped on Earth by a god of death, or a shinigami, named Ryuk...

    anime, Soichiro Yagami threatens to kill his son, Light, but the murder attempt was simply an act (using a revolver loaded with blanks) to determine whether or not Light was the notorious serial killer, "Kira".
  • In the Family Guy
    Family Guy
    Family Guy is an American animated television series created by Seth MacFarlane for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series centers on the Griffins, a dysfunctional family consisting of parents Peter and Lois; their children Meg, Chris, and Stewie; and their anthropomorphic pet dog Brian...

    episode, Lois Kills Stewie, Peter and Lois Griffin kill Stewie. Also, Peter kills Meg in a flashback cutaway, but this incident is non-canon.
  • In the Fox Network show Justice
    Justice (TV series)
    Justice is an American legal drama produced by Jerry Bruckheimer that aired on Fox in the USA and CTV in Canada. The series also aired on Warner Channel in Latin America, Nine Network in Australia, and on TV2 In New Zealand....

    , a woman is tried and convicted of shooting her son, who threatened to reveal the mother's drug dealing business.
  • In the HBO series Oz
    Oz (TV series)
    Oz is an American television drama series created by Tom Fontana, who also wrote or co-wrote all of the series' 56 episodes . It was the first one-hour dramatic television series to be produced by premium cable network HBO. Oz premiered on July 12, 1997 and ran for six seasons...

    , white supremacist Schillinger has his son killed by providing him with poisoned narcotics while he is in solitary confinement
    Solitary confinement
    Solitary confinement is a special form of imprisonment in which a prisoner is isolated from any human contact, though often with the exception of members of prison staff. It is sometimes employed as a form of punishment beyond incarceration for a prisoner, and has been cited as an additional...


See also

  • Binding of Isaac
    Binding of Isaac
    The Binding of Isaac Akedah or Akeidat Yitzchak in Hebrew and Dhabih in Arabic, is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah...

  • Lists of people by cause of death
  • Suicide
    Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

    , the killing of one's self

Familial killing terms:
  • Avunculicide
    Avunculicide is the act of killing an uncle. The word can also refer to someone who commits such an act. The term is derived from the Latin words avunculus meaning "maternal uncle" and caedere meaning "to cut or kill". Edmunds suggests that in mythology avunculicide is a substitute for parricide...

    , the killing of one's uncle
  • Filicide, the killing of one's child
  • Fratricide
    Fratricide is the act of a person killing his or her brother....

    , the killing of one's brother
  • Mariticide
    Mariticide literally means the murder of one's married partner, but has become most associated with the murder of a husband by his wife, as the reverse is given the name uxoricide.In England the punishment until 1790 was to be strangled and burnt at the stake.-Historical:* Laodice I allegedly...

    , the killing of one's husband
  • Matricide
    Matricide is the act of killing one's mother. As for any type of killing, motives can vary significantly.- Known or suspected matricides :* Amastris, queen of Heraclea, was drowned by her two sons in 284 BC....

    , the killing of one's mother
  • Nepoticide, the killing of one's nephew
  • Parricide
    Parricide is defined as:*the act of murdering one's father , mother or other close relative, but usually not children ....

    , the killing of one's parents or another close relative
  • Patricide
    Patricide is the act of killing one's father, or a person who kills his or her father. The word patricide derives from the Latin word pater and the Latin suffix -cida...

    , the killing of one's father
  • Prolicide
    Prolicide is the act of killing one's own offspring. It may refer to* Filicide* Feticide-See also:* Child murder* Infanticide* Suicide, the killing of one's self* Avunculicide, the killing of one's uncle* Fratricide, the killing of one's brother...

    , is the killing of one's offspring
  • Sororicide
    Sororicide is the act of killing one's own sister.There are a number of examples of sororicide and fratricide in adolescents, even pre-adolescents, where sibling rivalry and resulting physical aggression can get out of hand and lead to the death of one of them, particularly...

    , the killing of one's sister
  • Uxoricide
    Uxoricide is murder of one's wife. It can refer to the act itself or the man who carries it out.- Known or suspected uxoricides:...

    , the killing of one's wife

Non-familial killing terms from the same root:
  • Deicide
    Deicide is the killing of a god. The term deicide was coined in the 17th century from medieval Latin *deicidium, from de-us "god" and -cidium "cutting, killing")...

     is the killing of a god
  • Genocide
    Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

     is the killing of a large group of people, usually a specific and entire ethnic, racial, religious or national group
  • Homicide
    Homicide refers to the act of a human killing another human. Murder, for example, is a type of homicide. It can also describe a person who has committed such an act, though this use is rare in modern English...

     is the killing of any human
  • Infanticide
    Infanticide or infant homicide is the killing of a human infant. Neonaticide, a killing within 24 hours of a baby's birth, is most commonly done by the mother.In many past societies, certain forms of infanticide were considered permissible...

    , the killing of an infant from birth to 12 months
  • Regicide
    The broad definition of regicide is the deliberate killing of a monarch, or the person responsible for the killing of a monarch. In a narrower sense, in the British tradition, it refers to the judicial execution of a king after a trial...

     is the killing of a monarch (king or ruler)
  • Tyrannicide
    Tyrannicide literally means the killing of a tyrant, or one who has committed the act. Typically, the term is taken to mean the killing or assassination of tyrants for the common good. The term "tyrannicide" does not apply to tyrants killed in battle or killed by an enemy in an armed conflict...

     is the killing of a tyrant

Also consider filial cruelty (cruelty toward one's own child), child cruelty (cruelty toward an unrelated child), and child murder
Child murder
The murder of children is considered an abhorrent crime in much of the world; they are perceived within their communities and the state at large as being vulnerable, and therefore especially susceptible to abduction and murder. The protection of children from abuse and possible death often involves...

 (the murder of a child in general).

External links

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