Matricide occurs when one or more children kill their mother. Matricide occurs in stories and films for dramatic effect, and it has occurred throughout the history of the world in real-life situations as well. It is usually treated as murder in court systems around the world and does not generally carry extra penalties because of the relation of the killer and the victim, though this is not the case throughout the entire world. It is a rare crime, and tends to garner a significant amount of attention when it does occur.
Homicide is the act of killing a person, and several types exist aside from matricide: patricide is the killing of one's father; fratricide occurs when a brother is killed, and sororicide occurs when a sister is killed. Suicide is one of the more common types of killing, and it occurs when a person kills himself. Motives for committing such acts vary from case to case, and in many cases a motive is never determined. More than one type of murder can occur at once as well; a matricide and a patricide can occur at the same time, for example, if both parents are killed.
In some cases, matricide occurs after a child has endured some sort of abuse or abusive behavior from the mother. In other cases, the motive is religious or moral. A child might hill his mother, for example, if the mother is having an affair, or otherwise committing some act the child finds to be sinful or unacceptable. In other cases, the child may be mentally unstable and commit murder due to insanity; the murder may or may not be provoked at all.
The act of matricide is common in fiction and film because of its dramatic nature. Many writings throughout history have told stories of matricide for various reasons, from shock value to morality lessons. Films have been made that focus on the murder of a mother and repercussions of that act; very often such an act garners high interest because of its rarity, and its place in entertainment often leads to its sensationalism. Occurrences of such murders have occurred throughout history; one of the most famous instances of the murder of a mother include the murder of Cleopatra III by her son, who suspected her of conspiracy.