Cain and Abel

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Cain: I do not know; am I my brother's keeper?

God: What have you done? Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground!
Genesis 4:9-10

Sometimes Sibling Rivalry can get a little... intense. Maybe one who Missed the Call gets overly jealous that the other has become The Chosen One, maybe grand powers or knighthood run in the family and one just happens to have been tempted to The Dark Side, maybe one of them betrayed their master or father and the other has to stop him, or maybe it's just Because Destiny Says So, dammit. Whatever the case may be, now one's the hero and one's the villain, and they must do battle. Commence the angst.

For whatever reason, the older sibling is almost always the villainous one. Probably because being younger and more inexperienced makes the younger sibling the underdog, whom we are supposed to root for. And because the Aloof Big Brother always looks eviler. The major exception is the case of The Evil Prince, who is usually the younger of two princes, and who will do anything to make sure he succeeds their father instead of his brother.

It's not always siblings—childhood friends get to experience all the same woes from beating up someone they grew up with—but there's a certain poetry when they're actually related. Note that they are traditionally always of the same sex: brothers or sisters.

In cases of where the Cain turns out to be The Unfavourite, he's likely to be viewed from a more sympathetic angle. Of course, this would partially also depend on the sibling's attitude in all this. Sometimes the siblings will become The Only One Allowed to Defeat You, or realize they're Not So Different. If the hero isn't aware of the relation until late in the series, it's also a Luke, I Am Your Father. Compare Oedipus Complex. Contrast Sibling Team. Also contrast Bash Brothers, where the two people (who may or may not be brothers) beat up other people instead of each other.

The trope title, of course, comes from the biblical story of the first siblings to exist. See also Name of Cain. When There Is Another, compare Cain and Abel and Seth.

Examples of Cain and Abel include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Naruto: Sasuke and Itachi Uchiha. To some degree, Hiashi and Hizashi Hyuga.
    • This can also describe the relationship between Naruto and Sasuke
    • Temari and Kankuro felt this way about Gaara at first as well. Though in their case they weren't 'enemies' to Gaara so much as 'filled with mind-numbing terror' by him.
    • While they are cousins rather than siblings (although Hinata thinks of Neji as a brother) Neji is quite bitter toward Hinata and initially sees her as almost completely worthless until he loses to Naruto and rethinks his worldview. Some fan interpretations of Hanabi's relationship with her older sister Hinata apply this trope, typically making Hanabi the Cain.
    • It's recently come out that, the history of the Uchiha clan and Konoha is based on this. Essentially the Uchiha and Senju clans are descended from the elder and younger sons of the first ninja. The elder Uchiha brother was the Cain.
  • Inuyasha: As a result of Inuyasha claiming the sword Sesshoumaru's been pursuing for years, their Sibling Rivalry escalates into this trope for a while, mainly due to Sesshoumaru's belief that Inuyasha's claim proves he's The Unfavourite he's always secretly feared he was. This is eventually resolved.
    • Ginka and Kinka are from a Youkai race where two heads (with associated identities and personalities) are born to a single body and one personality must kill the other (and devour the defeated head) before they reach adulthood because it's the only way their race can survive. Unfortunately for everyone, Ginka and Kinka have made it to adulthood, both alive, both still firmly attached to each other, and both still trying to kill the other. Their fight can lay entire villages to waste. It's so bad they even have to negotiate when they go to sleep and for how long just in case one takes advantage of the situation.
  • Trigun: Vash and Knives.
    • These two are notably twins with no idea who's older, and the Japanese word they use for their relationship is the incredibly vague 'kyoudai,' but because of the conventions of this trope many fans tend to treat Knives as the elder brother.
    • Given the vague Christian references that get tossed in, the anime scene that confuses who's supposed to be the Cain here was probably intentional: shortly after Knives kills pretty much everyone else, little Vash stands over him at night with a big rock trying to work up the nerve to bash his sleeping brains out. He doesn't manage it.
      • Knives, on the other hand, commands 'eternal suffering to Vash the Stampede.' Though he's never quite willing to off him.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch and Suzaku, in the childhood friends variety, although for a while they aren't even aware they're on opposite sides. It kicks into high gear after the Wham! Episode, though, when one of them ends up killing someone they both loved. Not only that, but the whole driving force behind the plot is Lelouch's revenge-fueled crusade to slaughter almost his entire family aside from his little sister.
    • As well as destroy and recreate the world so that his sister never suffers again.
    • And again when said little sister finds out and tries to stop him.
  • X 1999: Kamui and Fuuma, in another friendship variety.
    • The sisters Hinoto and Kanoe count as well. The younger one, Kanoe, is the evil one here though.
  • Another childhood friends one: Miaka Yuuki and Yui Hongo in Fushigi Yuugi.
  • Astro Boy has Astro and Atlas.
  • Gundam has a lot of them:
    • Gundam SEED gets Kira and Athrun, who're the childhood friends version. Unusual in that neither is really a villain, and both end up in a third faction after both sides they worked with turn out to be villainous. Though not before a climactic and nearly fatal final duel halfway through the series, naturally.
    • Kyouji Kasshu and his little brother Domon from G Gundam... Or so we think.
    • Ginias Sahalin from Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team. We meet him as Aina's caring-but-aloof brother. Twelve episodes later we bid farewell an obsessive, murderous mad scientist who forces his onnce-beloved sister to pilot his giant mechanical monstrosity, tells her that "Love is an illusion', produced by your body's glands!", and then shoots her. (This is between blowing up/poisoning his allies, working his minions to death, and destroying perfectly good viewscreens.) She doesn't really object when her Main Character boyfriend tells her "Sorry, but I have to kill your brother now", even when she's not exactly happy either.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: Alberto is The Half brother and Cain to Banagher and his Abel
    • In the original Mobile Suit Gundam we have Kycilia and Gihren Zabi, a pair of cold-blooded Manipulative Bastards and social climbers who are perfectly willing to kill one another if it means ascending to control of the family. More like Cain and Cain really.
  • Soukou no Strain: Sara is happy, bright, and has an enormous case of Big Brother Worship. Then Ralph, said big brother, turns out to be a psycho that wants to kill all humans, starting with the entire population of Sara's school. It all goes downhill from there.
  • Trinity Blood: The battling twins at the center of the story are literally named, "Cain and Abel." Care to guess which of these is the villain and which is the hero? (And to REALLY beat the biblical reference over your head, their little Crusnik "sister" is, of course, named Seth. And their common maternal figure is named Lilith. Right.)
    • At least somewhat justified, given that the "siblings" were supposed to be the first born (or first created) of a new and improved human species. Initially subverted, as Cain made his first kill in an effort to remove someone he thought was coming between him and Abel. It went over about as well as you'd expect, leading to a more standard example of the trope.
      • Also subverted in that it was Able who first went after Cain do to the above murder.
  • It's hard to avoid in Rozen Maiden, where There Can Be Only One of seven sisters that survives (unless that cryptic statement at the end of season two has anything to say about it). Suigintou and Shinku in particular have exactly this relationship, although who is the betrayer and who is the good underdog switches around in different points of the timeline.
  • Tekkaman Blade. The English dub (Teknoman) actually names one of the brothers Cain, and Tekkaman Blade II includes the biblical Cain and Abel story in its title crawl. This is also slightly reversed: the elder brother (Takaya/Blade aka Tekkaman Blade) is good, the younger brother (Shinya/Cain aka Evil/Sabre) is evil.
    • It should also be mentioned that, in the original, The Big Bad, Kengo/Conrad aka Tekkaman Omega, was also Blade and Evil's older brother. And their youngest sister, Miyuki/Shara aka Tekkaman Rapier, is the gentle Sacrificial Lamb who chooses to die through Heroic Sacrifice rather than through her fatal illness.
  • Zatch Bell: Zatch and Zeno (Gash and Zeon in the original). Zeno hates Zatch because the latter received the powerful "Bao" spells. In the manga, they end up reconciling, but Zeno hates Zatch to the end in the anime.
  • Baccano! features a story arc centered around Eve Genoard desperately searching for her older brother Dallas. She frequently puts herself in severe danger for his sake, all the while proclaiming her devotion to him and her belief that he's a wonderful person. Meanwhile the audience sees through flashbacks that Dallas is actually the story's premier Jerkass, who mostly spends his time running around being a huge dick to EVERYONE he meets. Including Eve.
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni involves this with the twin Sonozaki sisters, Mion and Shion, as one of the two is the only one (besides those who already knew the whole story) who doesn't get infected with the Hate Plague, while the other, when infected, throws her conscience out the window even before she loses her mind and racks up the highest body count in the series besides the instigator herself. Yes, the elder is the "evil" one -- the murderer was Shion pretending to be Mion most of the time, but because of a mix-up in their childhoods, the elder girl, originally named Mion, ended up living as Shion due to a Twin Switch, so Mion was pretending to be Shion pretending to be Mion.
  • In Blood Plus, a natural scientist finds Saya and Diva's mother's corpse and hatches the infants from their cocoons (it's complicated). As part of an experiment, he raises Saya as his own daughter and locks Diva in a tower to be a guinea pig. Saya is raised as a normal human girl; Diva is experimented on and denied anything more than a blanket and a meager amount of food. Saya grows up seeing humans as equals; Diva grows up seeing humans as torturers and also food. One day Saya meets Diva and lets her out. The resulting bloodbath started a conflict between the two sisters that lasted for over a century.
  • In Saint Seiya, Kanon (younger) and Saga (older). In the beginning, Kanon was evil and Saga was good, but Saga went insane for having a Super-Powered Evil Side (coms with being the * Gemini* Saint, of all Gold Saints) and turned evil. Kanon * knew* his brother would become evil and used it to his advantage, staging an epic Gambit Roulette that covers several arcs of the story (two in the manga, three in the anime), where Saga was the first Big Bad and Kanon was the Man Behind the Man from both him and his boss. However, later Kanon pulls a Heel Face Turn and joins the good guys, while Saga turns evil... apparently..
    • Let's not forget Phenix Ikki (older) and Andromeda Shun (younger), who were at first like this. Still, Ikki pulls a Heel Face Turn early in the story and joins the Five-Man Band.
    • Apparently Kurumada-sensei loved this trope very much because now in Next Dimension we get the real Abel and Cain, and the Cain once again is the older one.
  • Kagura and Kamui of Gintama, estranged siblings who would probably have gotten along were Kamui not such a jerkass (trying to kill your dad then disappearing for years is not the way to forge strong family bonds). As it is, Kagura considers all their bonds severed and Kamui seems to want little to do with her.
  • Prince Kaito from Murder Princess is of The Evil Prince variety. Though the actual Princess Alita (his younger sister) doesn't really fight him, as she previously switched bodies with the Action Girl Falis who handles the fighting part for her.
  • Tsubasa and Souma Ohgami from Kannazuki no Miko, though Tsubasa isn't really a bad guy and undergoes a rather spectacular Heel Face Turn late in the series. What's more, technically, they are both Necks of Orochi, only that Souma has a good reason to fight against his "heritage".
  • Kazuya and Kyoshiro from Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora a.k.a. Shattered Angels. No, Kazuya doesn't commit any redeeming acts like Tsubasa.
  • The sisters Harulu and Karala from Space Runaway Ideon are an archetypal example: the older, more socially awkward but decisive Harulu grows jealous of the dreamy, honest but romantically successful Karala and shoots her to death (during the Kill'Em All), only realizing her true reasons afterwards.
  • Col. Dewey and Holland Novak in Eureka Seven.
  • Chrono Crusade uses this trope not once, not twice, but three times.
    • Aion and Chrono from Chrono Crusade would probably qualify, as they often seem to be even more than brothers...in the manga Aion and Chrono were close friends and described as "like brothers"—demons in the series are Bee People and don't exactly have the concept of family. Except Chrono and Aion were turned into demons when their (human) mother was pregnant with them--they're twins. Aion is rather obsessed with getting Chrono back on his side, although when he refuses Aion gleefully tortures him for it. The anime version makes the pair have a more distant relationship, but also implies that they're two sides of the same coin. (Not to mention giving the pair their fair share of Ho Yay.)
    • Meanwhile, Rosette made a contract with Chrono in order to save her brother, Joshua, after he was kidnapped by Aion. It turns out that Joshua is radically devoted to Aion (partially because he's been given power that drives him mad), which causes the pair to fight...when Joshua remembers Rosette is his sister at all.
    • Satella reveals early on that she's searching for her missing sister. Guess who also happens to be working for Aion? Her sister Florette, now called "Fiore". When this is revealed the pair naturally ends up fighting each other.
  • Prince Forsis and Pacifica in Scrapped Princess. You know...
  • Folken Lacour de Fanel (Cain) and Van Slanzar de Fanel (Abel) from Vision of Escaflowne, though Folken goes for a Heel Face Turn mid-series. After all he had done, though, it still takes a lot for Van to forgive him.
    • This is a slight variation in that there's nothing personal about it from Folken's point of view: they just happened to wind up on different sides of an ideological dispute. It's played straighter in The Movie, which casts Folken as a straight-up Green-Eyed Monster Cain over not being named heir.
  • In Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Optimus Prime's brother Ultra Magnus shows up on Earth with a serious grudge over the Matrix of Leadership having gone to Optimus instead of him:

Optimus: He's grown a little bitter over the years.
Side Burn: Bitter? Bitter is not sending you postcards, but this wacko... He knocked you off a cliff!

  • Monster Rancher actually has a case where the younger sibling is the corrupt one, with Tiger and Gray Wolf (though the latter's Brainwashed and Crazy.)
  • GaoGaiGar has the champion of the G-Stone, Gai, and the champion of the J-Jewel, Soldato-J. Bonus points because the respective developers of the G-Stone and J-Jewel were actually named Cain and Abel.
    • It's actually more of an aversion of the standard formula. Cain and Abel weren't related (instead the leaders of their respective planets) and there was never any animosity between them. Cain harnessed the power of the G-Stone and created Galeon to protect his son Latio (aka Mamoru) and fight the Zonders. Abel thought Cain was on to something and used the J-Jewels to create Arma and the J-Cyborgs/Arks. Plus, J only awakens his J-Jewel powers after he makes his (sort of) Heel Face Turn.
  • Subaru and the Numbers Cyborg Nove in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, a case where the good one is the older sibling by virtue of being an earlier Quint clone. Of course, this being Nanoha, this stops being the case by the end of the season.
  • Belphegor and Rasiel from Katekyo Hitman Reborn, possibly subverted in the fact that Rasiel isn't dead.
  • Glass Fleet: Vetti and Cleo. Though they don't know they're related until the very end of the series, combining this with the Separated at Birth trope.
  • Ditto with an older example-Voltes V: Prince Heinel and Kenichi Go. And unlike in most cases of this trope, they have much in common, personality-wise.
  • Blue Exorcist: The tragic aspect of this almost happens to Rin (Hot-Blooded Anti-Anti-Christ) and Yukio (genius exorcist and Rin's younger twin brother) when the former discovers he's the son of Satan and then learns that the latter knew it all along and now wants to kill him (they get better). There are still hints that Yukio is more susceptible to the dark side, however.
    • Secondary case with the other two sons of Satan Mephisto Pheles (AKA Johann Faust V) and Amaimon: Mephisto is outgoing and clownish (similar to The Millennium Earl, complete with umbrella) while Amaymon seems to be quieter and darker.
      • To further contrast, Mephisto seems much more careful and meticulous - even if he seems to just be having fun most of the time. Amaimon seems rather reckless and immature, with Cloudcuckoolander tendencies. Also, while both brothers seem to get along fairly well, they do clash at one point: Amaimon wants to keep fighting Rin, even after they've begun doing damage to the school grounds, and even though Rin is beginning to go Berserk from Satan's flames. Mephisto does not like this, and promptly intervenes. He is able to restrain both Rin and Amaimon at the same time, explaining to Amaimon why they had to stop fighting. But Amaimon wouldn't listen, and punches Mephisto in the face mid-sentence. Mephisto's retaliation is hilarious. Amaimon has not been seen since but, chances are, these two aren't going to be getting along so well when Amaimon gets out of that Kuchen Cuckoo House.
  • Ogami and his older brother from Code Breaker. They're even color coded!
  • Hana and Ageha from Papillon Hana To Chou: Hana is a popular city girl and a little manipulative while Ageha is plain country girl and walked all over. When Hana steals Ageha's potential love interest, Ageha is nearly Driven to Suicide. Their mom is a Well Done Daughter Gal to boot: Ageha was sent to the country because her constant crying aggravated her post-partum depression. As Ageha gains confidence she and her mom's relationship improves while Hana's behavior gets worse: Her latest scheme to ruin her sister's life caused Ageha's current boyfriend to break up with her, although they shouldn't have been together in the first place(eh, if he couldn't tell them apart he's probably not worth it anyway)
  • No mention of Princess Resurrection which embodies this trope? All the royal siblings virtually are fighting to the death for the throne except for the main character Hime who has no interest in it.
  • Raoh and Toki/Kenshiro. Also, Jagi and Kenshiro. At least Raoh had standards and respected Kenshiro. Jagi's intense hatred for Kenshiro instead turned him into a Complete Monster, whereas Raoh was more of a Noble Demon.
  • Let's see, you've got a Big Screwed-Up Family trapped in a mansion possibly murdering each other... Given the context, it would've been astounding if Umineko no Naku Koro ni could have gone without invoking this trope. It's been invoked at a bare minimum, three times.
  • Pops up in the second season of Princess Tutu, when Mytho becomes tainted with Raven's blood and performs a Face Heel Turn. Fakir is constantly forced to fight against him, even though they were practically raised as brothers.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia, the characters of China and Japan enact this trope in their Backstory, with China as the Abel (despite being the elder) and Japan as the Cain. Japan was raised by China as his younger brother, yet never really considered himself his brother, and in the end he injures China with his katana and abandons him. Even when they're shown later to be in more civil terms, the bad blood is not exactly gone.
    • The character of "Korea" represents only South Korea, due to the obvious Real Life issues surrounding the two countries in the peninsule. When fanworkers create an Original Character representing North Korea (sometimes male, sometimes female), they and South Korea end up recreating this trope as well.
  • Asakura Yoh and his older twin brother Hao in Shaman King
  • In Spiral, Ayumu is struggling with the shadow of his elder brother Kiyotaka, although they don't actually fight until the end of the manga. Also Kanone and the other Blade Children, as they were childhood friends (and, again only in the manga, actually also all half-siblings.
  • In Witch Hunter, the rivalry between the three princes of the Bairong Empire gets very intense, even though one of them doesn't actually want the throne... one guess what happens.
  • The relationship of Takeru with his brother Marg, which fate would have it, pitted the two against each other in the war.
  • Sisters Rally and Rosa Cheyenne fall into this in Silent Moebius. In this case, the elder sister (Rally) is the good one.
  • No mention yet of Haine/Heine and Giovanni?
  • The Aslan Civil War was started by two royal brothers with different visions for the future of their country. When the younger brother was chosen to succeed their father, it got ugly.
  • Agon and Unsui of Eyeshield 21 seem to be set up as this at first, with the younger sibling being blessed with unlimited talent and the elder having to suffer hellish training just to be half as skilled. However, while there's definitely some tension between them, the older brother ends up being more dutiful to the younger rather than hateful.
  • In the Fullmetal Alchemist anime, the homonculus Envy turns out to be the result of attempted resurrection of Hohenheim and Dante's son, making him Ed and Al's older (by a few hundred years) brother. This is foreshadowed repeatedly through the series, with much of Envy's actions being a result of his, well, Envy of Ed and Al for being their father's favourites, as well as a burning hatred for his father. Envy even ends up killing Ed (albeit temporarily) like the Trope Namer, for bonus points in this trope.
  • Mawaru Penguindrum: Kanba is the Cain to Shouma's Abel, largely because Kanba is in love with Himari, their (un)related sister, but Shouma shared an apple with her (and said apple was later shared with Kanba), and also disagrees about Kanba has become more and more embittered and extreme in his methods. It leads to [[spoiler: QUITE the showdown, in which both guys pulls parallel ["Heroic Sacrifice|Heroic Sacrifices in the end - Kanba for Himari, and Shouma for his love interest and foil Ringo."]
    • There is also Masako who is an Abel herself to Kanba, as his twin sister. Kanba in general is portrayed as a much more sympathetic Cain.
  • In Corsair, Jean-Hughes blamed Canale for everything that went wrong with their family and tried to kill him several times as a child (thinking he succeeded). When he finds out Canale is, in fact, still alive he continues to plan to do him off. While Canale has a lot of blood on his hands at this point, Jean-Hughes is clearly the "evil" brother and in the end Canale kills him instead.
  • In Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru, it turns out that Kanata, Yuki's childhood friend from the orphanage where he grew up, who was like an older brother to him, is actually Reiga, the Big Bad.
  • In Honoo no Alpen Rose we have the siblign version with the Courtot brothers. Older brother Jean-Paul is a Cold Sniper hitman Cain, younger brother Lundi is an Action Survivor Abel.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • X-Men has a number of examples.
    • Although they're both heroes, Cyclops and Havok frequently find themselves fighting against each other.
      • In fact, it happens so often, fans sometimes forget that Cyclops and Havok are quite close in 616 continuity (that is, whenever Cyclops isn't being a Jerkass and Havok isn't plagued by the Green-Eyed Monster or Brainwashed and Crazy). On the other hand, they unabashedly despise one another in Ultimate and Misfits continuity, making this trope much more applicable to those universes.
      • Played straight between Cyclops and his other brother Vulcan.
      • Played even more straight between Havok and Vulcan after the latter killed their father.
    • Cable and his brother/clone Stryfe.
    • Juggernaut Cain Marko and step-brother Charles Xavier.
    • And in a metaphorical vein, Charles "Professor X" Xavier and Erik Magnus "Magneto" Lensherr—once the closest of friends, now on opposite sides of an ideological gulf on mutant/human relations.
    • Also Professor X and Cassandra Nova, making him a triple header on this one.
    • Banshee's cousin Black Tom is his brother in the Animated Adaptation.
    • Wolverine and Sabretooth aren't brothers per se, but they were both products of the Weapon X project, and at one point it was (wrongly) believed Sabretooth was Wolverine's father.
      • Though Chris Claremont has suggested that Sabertooth being Wolverine's father was the original plan.
        • And in the first arc of Joe Quesada's Origin, Wolverine and Sabretooth are fairly strongly implied to be half-brothers.
          • The film versions of them are explicitly stated to be brothers.
    • Emma Frost and her sisters, especially Adrienne whom she shot to death after Adrienne's actions led to Synch's death.
    • There's also the human Graydon Creed and his mutant half-brother Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler.
    • Now Daken and X-23 can be added to the list, being the son and daughter of Wolverine. Daken is what Wolverine is trying to make sure X-23 does NOT end up like.
      • Though if you want to get technical, since X-23 is a female clone of Wolverine, she is actually more like Daken's aunt.
    • Colossus and his (now currently deceased) brother Mikhael Rasputin. His relationship with his little sister Ilyana is only slightly better: Colossus is fiercely protective of her to the near detriment of every other aspect of his life, but she's a soulless demonic being (who nonetheless still loves Colossus as much as a soulless demonic being is capable of love).
  • The Sandman and associated titles feature Dreaming versions of the original Cain and Abel. Abel is harmless, but Cain feels driven to repeatedly murder him. Furthermore, Cain won't stand for anyone else harming Abel. These versions of the characters are originally from DC's 70s horror titles.
    • In a less literal example, Desire has sworn to set the Kindly Ones on his/her brother Dream. In this case, Desire is the younger sibling.
  • Rose and her sister, from the epic adventure Bone by Jeff Smith.
  • Tambi and Bambi Baker from Strangers in Paradise.
  • Spider-Man had Ben Reilly and Kaine, who were sort of brothers. They managed to work it out just in time for Ben to die.
    • Kaine to Peter, too.
  • Lightning Lad/Live Wire and Lightning Lord in Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • During a brief Dork Age, that was thankfully swept away by Infinite Crisis, Supergirl's father Zor-El hated his brother Jor, and sent Kara to Earth to kill Jor-El's infant son. Or he just didn't get on with his brother, and knew that Kal-El would "infect" Earth with evil spirits from the Phantom Zone. Or... look never mind, it's gone!
  • Heroic trucker Ulysses Solomon Archer and his villainous brother the Highwayman from Marvel's shortlived toy tie-in comic U.S. 1 (and now officially part of the Marvel Universe).
  • The Marvel versions of Hercules and Ares are bitter rivals throughout their comics histories. In The Incredible Hercules, Ares' primary reason for despising Hercules is said to be his anger that mortals favoured Hercules over him, despite all the benefits (fame, power, empire) that war brings. But he overlooks the bad things of war (death, destruction, fear and often a heavy poverty)
  • Tomoe and her Evil Counterpart Noriko from Usagi Yojimbo.
  • Aquaman frequently faces off against his evil brother Orm, the Ocean Master.
  • J'onn J'onnz, the Martian Manhunter, also had his share of troubles with his evil sibling Malefic, who was responsible for wiping out the entirety of their species, before J'onn tossed him into the sun.
  • Luke Cage and his brother Coldfire. Iron Fist has the friendship version of this wtih Davos/Steel Serpent.
  • Judge Dredd and his brother, Rico. Dredd arrests Rico after he goes rogue. Twenty years later, Rico comes back for revenge and Dredd is forced to kill him.
  • Skaar and Hiro Kala, the twin sons of The Hulk. Hiro-Kala wanted to kill Skaar, and then himself, to finally destroy the Old Power they inherited from their mother, as he believed it would eventually destroy the universe. Main problem was that he was going to do this by crashing a Mars-size planet into Earth to destroy both worlds, in his words "sacrificing billions to save trillions."
  • The Mighty Thor's archenemy is his adopted brother, Loki.
  • Starfox and Thanos the Mad Titan. Their father forced them to agree to meet once every thousand years on peaceful terms in the hopes that they would eventually stop fighting altogether. So far they haven't.
  • Though it's never established if they're blood siblings or not, John Doe and Alfie O'Meagan from Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja are same-age infants who were found and raised in the same orphanage. The series centers around John's efforts to stop Alfie from destroying the world.
  • Black Bolt, leader of The Inhumans, and his brother Maximus "the Mad".
  • In the Sonic The Hedgehog comics, Lien-Da and her brother Kragok hated their half-sister Julie-Su due to their belief that their father liked her better. Kragok's dead these days, but the rivalry between Lien-Da and Julie-Su is still going strong - and it's not helped any by Lien-Da working for Eggman and Julie-Su being Knuckles' girlfriend.
    • Lien-Da's actually been on both sides of this - she and Kragok were supposed to take over the Dark Legion together after killing their father, but Kragok set things up so that Lien-Da would be badly injured in the process, so he could cheat her out of the position.
  • In Superman and Batman Generations, Joel Kent, who was prenatally stripped of his Kryptonian superpowers by Gold Kryptonite exposure, was the Cain to his sister Kara's Abel, and in the same Biblical fashion ended up killing her when he got superpowers.
  • Pakrat the thief and his brother Rident Oly the intergalactic police officer in Atari Force.
  • Since his resurrection, Jason Todd has repeatedly attacked his adoptive brothers Dick Grayson and Tim Drake. It came to the point that in Battle for the Cowl he actually tried to kill them.
    • Damian also has this toward Tim, basically reasoning that he would have to kill the then-current Robin to get Batman's respect. He's undergone some Character Development since then, but there still isn't much brotherly love between him and Tim.


Fairy Tales[edit | hide]

  • In The Singing Bone, the younger brother is murdered by the envious older. His corpse rots, someone retrieves a bone from it and makes a flute, and the flute begins to sing of the murder. (Gustav Mahler adapted this tale for his early work Das klagende Lied.)
  • In The Grateful Beasts, Ferko's brothers put out his eyes and break his legs. Then they slander him to the king to persuade him to set Ferko to Impossible Tasks until, finally, Ferko has wolves eat the king, his own brothers, and all the court.
  • In The Golden Mermaid, the envious older brothers beat their younger brother to death. The talking fox and golden mermaid revive him, and when he reaches court, the king banishes his older brothers.
  • In Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf, the envious older brothers kill the youngest, Prince Ivan. The talking wolf puts him back together and restores him to life, and they get word to his father, who turns his oldest sons into menial servants and make Ivan his heir.
    • The same sort of thing happens in a large percentage of Russian fairy tales. Either there will be three brothers or three sisters. If there are three brothers, then the two oldest will be greedy and ambitious, and the youngest will be lazy, considered a fool, and usually named Ivan. The youngest brother will compete with his older brothers for something, and will always win through kindness and wisdom. If there are three sisters, the oldest two will be lazy, greedy, and vain, and the youngest will be the only one who ever does any work. The youngest will always get to marry the prince.
  • In The Golden Bird, the hero's envious brothers have him Thrown Down a Well, and succeed in trapping him there.
  • In Fair, Brown, And Trembling, the two older sisters refuse to let their sister out of the house for fear she would marry before them. When she succeeds in marrying anyway, her oldest sister pushes her into the sea and takes her place.
  • In Finette Cendron, Finette's sisters force her to stay home from the ball.
  • In The Unseen Bridegroom, Anima's sisters incite her to look at him at night, against his command, because they are envious.


Film[edit | hide]

  • In The Godfather Part 2, Michael Corleone has his brother Fredo assassinated.
    • Granted, Fredo betrayed him first.
  • Lucas Strong and Kid Shaleen in the musical western Cat Ballou.
  • See Michael Myers and his sisters from the Halloween movies for the slasher flick take on this.
  • Transformers: At the climax of the 2007 film, Optimus calls Megatron "brother". Peter Cullen, who voices Optimus, publicly referenced the story of Cain and Abel when describing the revelation.
    • How that works with giant robots was unexplained.
    • More explicitly in the sequel, the Fallen is revealed to be one of the Prime family, the original leaders of the Transformers. Optimus is either his brother or his nephew.
  • In Desperado, when the Mariachi and Bucho finally face off, it turns out that they are both brothers. The Mariachi's real name is Manito, while his brother is Cesar.
    • In fact, Desperado has a story very similar to Il Trouvatore, where the same thing happens.
  • Joey and Richie Cusack in A History of Violence.
  • In The Proposition, Charlie is blackmailed into killing his evil older brother Arthur, using Mikey, the younger, "simple" brother, as leverage. He eventually does, but by now Mikey's already dead, and it's just because Arthur deserves to die.
  • The first half of The Wind That Shakes The Barley is the O'Donnell brothers (Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney) fighting in the Irish Revolution together, and making enormous sacrifices. The second half is them choosing different sides in the Irish Civil War, and making even bigger ones.
  • At the end of Scanners, it's revealed that Vale and Revok are brothers.
  • The Kaiju film War of the Gargantuas has Sanda and Gaira, Bigfoot-like creatures grown from remains of a giant Frankenstein's Monster, that battle to the death as a result of Sanda's opposition to Gaira's Kill All Humans attitude.
  • Mortimer Brewster and his Ax Crazy Serial Killer brother Jonathan, from Arsenic and Old Lace. The third brother, Teddy, is harmlessly insane, but convinced that he is Theodore Roosevelt. Mortimer is relieved to discover he was adopted, since insanity seems to run in the Brewster family. In fact, it practically gallops.
  • In Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, the battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin is punctuated by Obi-Wan calling Anakin his brother.
  • The two pharaohs in Night at the Museum - Battle Of The Smithsonian: The elder (Hank Azaria) was utterly ruthless while the younger one was wise, and for that, "mother and father" gave Egypt to the younger one.
  • The vicious Red Queen in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland jealously loathes her younger sister, the benevolent White Queen, because the latter is adored by the populace (and, to judge by a throwaway line toward the end of the film, was the favorite of their parents).
  • In Gattaca, the main character Vincent was conceived without any of the advanced genetic screening that his younger brother Anton receives, and is thus subject to nearsightedness and a high likelihood of developing a heart condition. Their father clearly favors Anton throughout childhood (deciding at the last minute to not name the first-born son after himself when the potential heart condition is discovered at birth, saving that for his perfectly engineered second son). This favoritism coupled with the societal discrimination against naturally conceived "faithbirths" causes Vincent to hide his identity in order to pursue his dream of becoming an astronaut.Later, the police detective who discovers Vincent's deception is revealed to be Anton, who feels insecure about how successful Vincent is despite his 'inferior' genetics (due to his determination).
  • Prince of Persia the Sands of Time: Nizam kills his brother because he wants to be king. Then he tries to go back in time to kill him sooner, so he'll be king longer.
  • In Year One, Cain and Abel are encountered early on by the main characters, who very nervously befriend Cain after the infamous act (which he violently denies) and ends up selling them into slavery. Later on, they meet Cain as a town guard of Sodom and he sells them out to the king to be sacrificed.
  • Son of the Mask: Loki has always remained jealous of his Brother Thor & his Mighty Hammer, whom is Odin's favored son.
  • Angus and Henry Oldfield in Black Sheep. Angus leaves Henry to be killed by man-eating sheep, and is later turned into a weresheep, at which point Henry does try to kill him as well.
  • Raiden admits Shao Kahn is his brother in Mortal Kombat: Annihilation.
  • The main hero and villain in Scanners 3 are each other's brother and sister, respectively.
  • Played with in Woody Allen's Cassandra's Dream.
  • Adam and Fenton in Frailty.
  • In The Challenge, Toshiro Mifune plays a modern samurai master fighting his evil younger brother over ownership of "The Equals", a pair of sacred katana swords.
  • In Stahlnetz: PSI two brothers kidnap a little girl for ransom. When the elder brother, having a family of his own, gets second thoughts about the whole thing, the younger brother beats him up, locks him with the girl and abandons both to die. They are rescued by the police shortly thereafter.
  • Judge Dredd. Rico Dredd, cloned from the same source as Joe, but who became corrupt, forcing Joe to sentence him to the Aspen Penal Colony. Rico returned with murderous intent.
  • A deleted scene for Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy reveals that Ron and Wes Mantooth are half-brothers.

Wes Mantooth: I hate you Ron Burgundy! I hate you.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Lucasfilm's Alien Chronicles had a pair of childhood friends in a pet or slave/master relationship that later grew into a deeper friendship. One grew up to be Empress of The Empire, while the other became the leader of La Résistance.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Stardust, the customary method of royal succession is that the last prince to survive Free For All fratricide among his brothers becomes the heir.
  • In William King's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolfblade, Ragnar is warned that the brother of one House's lord died very suddenly and suspiciously.
  • Dean Koontz plays with this trope in:
    • By the Light of the Moon: the protagonists encounter Kenny of the many knives, and fear he will do a bad thing involving his knife collection and his younger brother Travis.
    • The Vision: two brothers-in-law (her elder brother and her husband, respectively) are rivals for Mary's attention; her husband as of the beginning of the story has supplanted her brother and taken over the management of her business affairs.
    • Watchers: Einstein and the Outsider are considered the two children of the Francis Project - one beloved, the other hated and feared (and aware of both facts, which is why the Outsider seeks to kill Einstein).
    • The Bad Place: Frank (older, co-protagonist) wants a much more normal life than his mother's mental problems and the odd abilities in the family really allow, while psychopathic brother "Candy" (real name James) is determined to kill Frank for killing their mother.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has several cases of this. Ser Gregor Clegane badly burned half his younger brother Sandor's face as punishment for playing with his toys when they were children (worth noting Gregor was 11, already the size of a man, and a squire with no interest in the toy in question, while Sandor was only 6 and probably half Gregor's size), and Sandor now lives only for revenge on him. Then there's Lord Stannis Baratheon and Lord Renly Baratheon, but it's difficult to determine which of them is the bad guy there. Stannis is over a decade older and is the rightful heir to their older brother's throne, but Renly attempts to usurp his place. However since Stannis is the one who had a sorceress assassinate his brother, he looks like the bad guy. Also, Queen Cersei Lannister lives in fear of a prophecy predicting she will be strangled by her younger brother, an act Tyrion certainly has plenty of motivation for (things started looking really bad for Cersei when Tyrion Took a Level in Badass and escaped from death row, strangling his treacherous ex-lover and fatally shooting his father on his way out, as well as planting the seeds of resentment in her twin Jaime--who, as he was born moments after Cersei was, could also easily fulfil this prophecy if said resentment continues to bloom.)
    • Domeric Bolton & his bastard half-brother Ramsay Snow qualify. Domeric seeks Ramsay out in hopes of befriending him; Ramsay poisons Domeric for his trouble.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel False Gods, Horus truthfully tells Russ that Magnus has engaged in sorcery forbidden by the Emperor -- his actual motive was that Magnus's loyalty to the Emperor would interfere with his own plans—and eggs him on until Russ does not think it necessary to capture Magnus alive. Since all three of them are, in a manner of speaking, brothers, it's a little complex.
    • And then there's Galaxy in Flames, Flight of the Eisenstein, and Fulgrim, which are absolutely rife with this; each Legion is a brotherhood, and no less than four of them - the World Eaters, Sons of Horus, Death Guard and Emperor's Children - are ripped in half by Horus' ambition, leading directly to brother vs. brother combat on a gargantuan scale.
    • It looks very much like this is going to happen with Remiel and Zahariel in the Dark Angels books in the series.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Nightbringer, Barzano is warned as soon as he arrives on planet that Talhoun is suspected of having murdered his brother in order to become the family patriarch.
  • Christopher Paolini's The Inheritance Trilogy: This trope fits Eragon and Murtagh respectively, despite what the author might want you to believe.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Witches Abroad, Granny Weatherwax reveals a deep-set resentment of her older sister - not because she's evil, but because her choice forced Granny to be the good one. Lily, a Knight Templar who believes she's the fairy godmother battling the wicked witch, is totally shocked at this interpretation.
  • John Steinbeck's East of Eden practically plagiarizes the Book of Genesis in its portrayal of two generations of brothers in the Salinas Valley of California. The story of the first pair of brothers, Adam and Charles Trask, follows the Biblical story of Cain and Abel very closely, and it is mirrored by the relationship of Adam Trask's two sons, Aron and Caleb. Excellent book. Made into a 1955 film starring James Dean.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels novel Deus Sanguinius, Rafen realizes that Arkio, not only a fellow Blood Angel but his actual brother, must fight with him, and only one will live. Inquisitor Stele convinces him—using sorcery—that he is overshadowing Arkio out of jealousy and kill himself to free Arkio. Only a literal divine vision saves Rafen. At the climax, he insists on fighting the single combat with him, and kills him. Dying as Yourself, Arkio is deeply moved by Rafen's Manly Tears, declaims all the extenuations Rafen offers, says that he foresaw this fight too, and begs Rafen's forgiveness that the acts that drove Rafen to it.
  • In JRR Tolkien's The Silmarillion, all evil is brought into the world by Melkor, one of the Valar, very powerful angel-like beings Eru created to prepare Arda (Earth) for Elves and Men. While he interferes with Eru's plans and destroys everything the other Valar create, his brother Manwe is appointed king of Arda because of his faithfulness to Eru.
    • Not to mention Fëanor and his younger half-brother Fingolfin: Fëanor resents his father's remarriage and dislikes his father's second wife and children (even though his father still seems to favour him.) Morgoth spreads lies to worsen things, until Fëanor raises a sword against Fingolfin. Although they briefly reconcile afterwards, Fëanor eventually abandons his brother, leaving him either to go sue for mercy the God-like Valar after having committed some fairly questionable acts, or to cross a Bering-strait-like desert of ice.
  • Smeagol and Deagol from JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Smeagol murders his friend Deagol for possession of the One Ring belonging to Sauron, which slowly turns him into the wretched creature Gollum. Not quite brothers, but as close as.
    • Averted by Boromir and Faramir. They are very different in personality, but they love each other.
      • It's especially notable considering Denethor's obvious favoritism.
  • Raistlin and Caramon Majere, fraternal twin-brothers from the Dragonlance fantasy novels by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. (Dragonlance is also one of the older Dungeons & Dragons world settings). Raistlin, the smart but sickly ambitious one, grew up to be a wizard (something he had considerable talent for), while the warrior Caramon was big, muscular and good-natured but somewhat dense.
    • Actually, they're an aversion of this trope. Although they're very different, and Genre Savvy fantasy fans would expect them to be enemies (of the Black Magic vs Knight Templar variety), they're actually quite close. Caramon is fiercely protective of Raistlin despite seeing Raistlin kill a simulacrum of Camaron during his magical testing out of jealousy.
      • Not really, Raistlin has on several occasions shown himself to be entirely capable, and willing, of killing his brother, who he is intensely jealous of. Basically the only thing stopping him from killing Caramon is that he needs Caramon's strength to protect himself when he's used up his spells for the day. Raistlin also repeatedly states, and demonstrates, that if killing Caramon would guarantee unlimited power for himself, he would do so.
        • Let's just say that Raistlin first, and Caramon later go through a big phase of Character Development. So, at the start this trope is averted, and at the end it's played straight. And then it's subverted.
  • Roger Zelazny's Book of Amber make an artform of this trope, but let's especially mention Corwin and Eric, and Merlin and Jurt in the second series.
  • In Gone with the Wind, Scarlett and Suellen qualify. Scarlett dislikes Suellen, seeing her as whiny and constantly complaining. Scarlett later marries Suellen's fiance from right under Suellen's nose.
  • Robin Hobb's The Farseer Trilogy has Regal, the younger half-brother of Chivalry and Verity, and last in line for the throne. After Chivalry abdicates, this puts Verity into a dangerous position, and later his pregnant wife, as well, not to mention the protagonist, Chivalry's illegitimate son.
  • Gravity's Rainbow: Russian mercenary Tchitcherine spends the novel trying to hunt down and kill his black half-brother.
  • In the Chivalric Romance Gamelyn, the plot revolves about how Gamelyn is oppressed by his older brother while his ward. He takes his Revenge and hides as an outlaw in the woods until he wins the king's pardon. (A source for As You Like It and Robin Hood ballads both)
  • In "The Knight's Tale" from the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer, Palamon and Arcite quarrel over Emelye. Granted, they are cousins, but until they saw Emelye they were as close as brothers. Subverted in the end when Arcite ends up defeating, but not killing, Palamon in a fight, gloating about his victory, and being struck down by the gods for his pride.
  • Bekter and Temujin in Wolf of the Plains, brought to a head when Bekter steals a marmot Temujin had caught and passes it off as his own kill. Temujin and Kachiun kill him soon after.
  • In the final book of the Star Wars: Legacy of the Force series, twins Jaina Solo (Sword of the Jedi) and Jacen Solo (Darth Caedus) fight two brutal lightsaber duels. At the end of the second duel, Jaina kills Jacen. In contrast to the Cain and Abel original archetype, it is the one doing the killing who is the protagonist and the slain who is the villain...even though it was the antagonist Jacen who tried to get out of the fight to save his loved ones but was denied any escape or surrender by his sister, supposedly the heroine of the series.
    • Little known fact: You lose your right to Time-Outs when you kill your aunt in order to turn the galaxy into a Police State.
      • The point was that the twins weren't as far apart morally as they (or just Jaina) might have thought. At any rate, Vader was worse than Caedus, and yet he was given the chance to be redeemed at the end.
      • Jaina realizes this after she kills him. Hence her breakdown where she throws Jagged Fel away from her with the Force when he tries to move Jacen's body. (Plus, Jaina thought that the "I want to save my loved ones" thing was a trick. She didn't have much reason to believe that he wasn't trying to trick her, what with him kidnapping his daughter and all.)
    • The Scary Dogmatic Aliens Yuuzhan Vong believed that twins fight to the death Because Destiny Says So. They were confused when they saw that Luke & Leia and Jaina & Jacen could work together.
      • It turns out that they were right about Jaina and Jacen, but about a decade early.
  • Eve and Alexandra Blackwell in Sidney Sheldon's Master of the Game are twins born into one of the most powerful business dynasties in the world; Eve arrived first, and her ambition makes her the obvious one to take it over once matriarch Kate retires...but Eve is insanely resentful of Alexandra simply because she keeps people from devoting themselves to Eve entirely. The night before their fifth birthday, Eve tries to kill her, and from there she devotes her life not only to becoming the inheritor of Kruger-Brent, Ltd., but crushing Alexandra as well.
  • Ender's Game does this in spades with the titular character and his older brother Peter. They don't reconcile until the Abel is half a galaxy away and the Cain is on his deathbed.
    • Also notable because Peter united the Earth and the Human Race while Ender obliterated an entire race of sentient beings. Well, almost an entire race.
  • Sam and Caine in the Gone (novel) series. In a slight variation, Sam (the good one) is older by a few minutes (they are twins Separated at Birth), and neither has killed the other yet, although they are enemies.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story A Witch Shall Be Born, the title witch is out to utterly break her sister Taramis.
    • In "The Scarlet Citadel" Conan accuses Amalrus of having poisoned his brothers for the throne.
  • Thomas and Christian in Buddenbrooks. Thomas is the strict businessman (although sometimes, it becomes too much for him), Christian a playboy and a neurotic. At one point, Thomas threatens Christian to put him under tutelage. Thomas also tells him, "I became what I am because I didn't want to become like you!"
  • The first two arcs of Warrior Cats end with a character killing thier brother. Specifically, Firestar kills Scourge (but Scourge killed Firestar) and Brambleclaw kills Hawkfrost.
  • In Memory Sorrow and Thorn, royal half-brothers Elias and Josua are this to a tee. Elias, older and more martial, hates his brother with a passion and considers him a rival for power. Josua, younger and more studious, repeatedly disclaims any desire for the throne and views his brother with a kind of pity, understanding that Elias' hatred stems from love of his wife, whose death he blames on Josua. Their falling out is heightened by Elias' recruitment of Evil Sorcerer Pryrates as a trusted advisor, which Josua repeatedly advises his brother against. The feud escalates to the point that Elias, at Pryrates' behest, has Josua captured and imprisoned, intending to use him as a ritual sacrifice to seal his deal with the Storm King, making the Biblical allegory even more blatant. Ironically, it turns out that Josua and Elias aren't blood relatives at all, as Josua was sired not by the king but by his most loyal knight, in a betrayal that has profound consequences on the story.
  • It is subtle, but The Kite Runner's Amir plays Cain to Hassan's Abel.
  • Teresa Frohock's Miserere an Autumn Tale revolves about the conflict between Lucian and Catarina.
  • Halt's twin brother Ferris from Ranger's Apprentice. Subverted in that Ferris didn't manage to kill his brother. Also overlaps with Evil Prince.
  • In Ishmael, the Taker and Leaver cultures are described as being the inspiration for the original story.
  • The Mythos has this relationship between Cthulhu and his "half-brother" Hastur. In fact, it's because of this rivalry that The Unspeakable aids Laban Shrewsbury's fight against Cthulhu, despite being a Great Old One himself.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • J.R. and Bobby Ewing from Dallas are a perfect example, with J.R. as Cain and Bobby as Abel. Though Bobby was the one that once tried to drown J.R. in Southfork's swimming pool.
  • In Beetleborgs, at the start of the Metallix season, the kids contact Arthur "Art" Fortune, the Stan Lee-like creator of the comic book, to revamp their superhero alter-egos. Meanwhile, the villains hook up with Lester "Les" Fortune, his jealous and psychotic brother who is serving a prison sentence, to draw new minions for them. Working for opposite sides only propels the brothers' long-time hatred for each other.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Caleb, The Dragon to the final Big Bad, identifies Faith as 'the Cain to Buffy's Abel' in his first appearance. Faith later concedes that jealousy over not being the Chosen One probably contributes to her tendency to be at Buffy's throat and to her going rogue in earlier seasons.
  • Rohan and his half-demon half-brother Lugad in The Mystic Knights of Tir Na Nog; one of those also of the Luke, I Am Your Father variety—for both sides!
  • Jack and Graem from 24, though it wasn't done nearly as well as it could have been, (but season six had bigger problems).
    • Kate and Marie Warner in the second season; Kate, the older one, is good, while Marie is working with the terrorists.
    • Omar and Farhad Hassan from Season 8; Omar is good, while Farhad betrays him to the extremists who don't want the peace treaty to go through.
  • In an interesting variation, Nathan and Peter Petrelli from Heroes spend the entire first season being set up as this—with Nathan, the older one, being loyal to their crazy Utopia Justifies the Means mother and a bit of a jerk to boot, and Peter, the younger one, representing all that is good and pure and idealistic—but the climax of the first season finale has Nathan ultimately rejecting his mother's side and dramatically sacrificing himself to help Peter save the world. Even if he didn't actually die. Of course, many of the fans believed something like that would happen all along, and were made very happy by the mutual declarations of love that came with it...
  • Wizards of Waverly Place. Although Justin, Alex, and Max all compete to win the absolute Family Wizard title, Justin and Alex are really into it, due to the burning, brotherly hate they have for each other, that grows more and more as episodes pass by. It's a serious case of sibling rivalry, even though it's not clear who is Cain and who is Abel in the relationship. Justin and Alex seem to constantly switch these roles.
  • Dan and Keith from One Tree Hill always had a rivalry because of Keith's love from Dan's ex, Karen. In season 3, Dan kills Keith because he believed Keith tried to kill him in the previous season; actually it was his then-wife, Deb. Abby who witnessed the murder left taunting messages to Dan which quoted the Cain and Abel story.
  • In season 7 of Smallville, Lex ends up creating his own Cain and Abel, when it's revealed he made Grant Gabriel as a clone of his dead baby brother. When Grant discovers this, he becomes very angry and hateful of Lex. Grant tries to form a familial relationship with their father Lionel against Lex's wishes. So Lex hires a hitman to gun him down. Then Lex goes outside to scream in the rain.
    • Smallville also has a version of Zor-El, Supergirl's father, who is antagonistic towards his brother Jor-El because of his love for Jor-El's wife, Lara.
    • Lex and Clark have been billed as being in a Cain and Abel relationship since the very first episode it seems.
      • And in Earth-2, Clark was adopted by Lionel Luthor. Didn't end well for Lex. And father is OK with that because he believes in social darwinism.
        • However, Lionel was furious that his adoptive son hasn't killed him yet, as should be expected. After coming to "our" universe, he's soon began to miss his son and planned to revive "our" Lex. Which he did.
      • Jor-El and Zod were also similar to Clark and Lex.
  • Torchwood has Captain Jack and his (in this case younger) brother Gray. Gray is evil because he wants vengeance on Jack for accidentally letting go of him when fleeing from evil torturous creatures when he was little and letting him grow up being constantly tortured by them.
  • KITT and KARR from Knight Rider could arguably be considered an A.I. version of this, with older prototype KARR the Cain to KITT's Abel.
  • Arthur and Morgana, now almost constantly, on Merlin [BBC]
  • Dexter Season 1 focused on Dexter and Brian/The Ice Truck Killer, who was Dexter's biological brother. He served partly as an example of what Dexter would be without the Code of Harry and cleared up heaps of backstory. In a twist on the usual story Dexter killed Brian. I'm not sure which one was Cain and which was Abel...
    • Subverted: even when siblings and death occur, it's not about sibling rivalry per se.
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm had Kanoi and Kiya Watanabe, otherwise known as the team's Sensei and The Smart Guy Sixth Ranger's father, and Lothor, the Genre Savvy Big Bad. Doubled as a Luke, I Am Your Father for Cam, as he was unaware of the relation. It ends up saving Marah & Kapri in the end, because Cam is a hell of a lot more merciful than Uncle Lothor!
    • And it comes up again in Power Rangers Operation Overdrive, this time between villains. The season has multiple Big Bads competing with each other as well as the Rangers, and the two most prominent are brothers Moltor and Flurious.
  • Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger has Burai's opposition to his brother Geki as much of the focus of the story- eventually however, the two are reconciled and Burai becomes the original Sixth Ranger.
  • Kamen Rider Black has adoptive siblings Minami Kotaro and Akizuki Nobuhiko kidnapped by the Gorgom cult to become their competing Century Kings. Kotaro becomes the Abel while Nobuhiko becomes the Cain.
  • Battlestar Galactica: John and Daniel.
    • Boomer and Athena.
  • Subverted in Supernatural. This has been set up between Sam and Dean arguably from the beginning, with Michael even mentioning Cain and Abel directly in "The Song Remains the Same", but they keep coming back in brotherly love despite various forces trying to set them against each other. Also, while younger brother Sam is generally the nice one (except when he's not), he's also the bad one.
    • There's also Andy and Ansem from the episode Simon Said, a good twin and a bad twin.
    • And, of course, Michael and Lucifer.
  • In Lost, it has been revealed that Jacob and the Man in Black are brothers.
  • The battle between twin brothers Adam and Zachary is the entire premise of The Wanderer.
  • Manic Pixie Granola Girl Phoebe from Friends was revealed to be the twin sister of Recurring Character Ursala on Mad About You. On her Friends appearances, Ursala was conveniently made into a Man- eating Jerkass who left Phoebe to clean up after her mistakes.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles features an AI version of this with John Henry, who considers the newly emerging Skynet to be his "brother" since they share the same code base. Given the prevalence of Biblical metaphors in this series, it's not surprising that the Cain and Abel comparison is explicitly brought up; John Henry wonders which of the two brothers he is.
  • The Doctor and the Master in Doctor Who. It's never been confirmed on the show that the two are actual brothers, and the Doctor denies in the revived series - although the Doctor isn't the most reliable source when it comes to his past. Even if they're not biologically related, the series makes it clear that they were as close as brothers growing up, so it still counts.
  • An episode of Cheers ("Ma Always Liked You Best") involved Woody bonding with Cliff's mother and Cliff becoming jealous, leading Mrs. Clavin to say she wanted to avoid "a Cain and Abel situation" and agreeing that they may "share" her.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, The android Data has a "brother" named Lore, which turned out to contact an alien mass-killer entity and tried to let it kill everyone aboard.
  • Damon and Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries, who've been in love with the same girl twice in the past century and a half. Currently subverted in that we've (almost) reconciled and save each other's lives more than they try to kill each other. Also Klaus and Elijah, who parallel Damon and Stefan's relationship.
  • Horatio and Raymond Caine in CSI: Miami. Horatio and Ray are portrayed in direct contrast to one another, with Horatio portrayed as a Good Cop to Raymond's Dirty Cop. Some episodes in the earlier seasons of the show had Horatio dealing with indiscretions Ray (who was believed to have been murdered while undercover but was actually Faking the Dead the whole time) had committed while undercover, including fathering a child with another woman, getting involved with criminal gangs and drug addiction. It was also implied that Horatio had feelings for Ray's wife Yelina, a Story Arc that never got resolved after Ray came out of hiding to reunite with Yelina and their son (but later got Killed Off for Real anyway, dying in Horatio's arms).
  • Cesare and Juan Borgia of, well, The Borgias. Cesare is the ultra-competent Badass Normal relegated to being a cardinal when he wants to be a soldier. In a spin, his Abel—little brother Juan—is actually not only hopelessly bad at his job as leader of the papal army, but also a jerk. The ultimate Annoying Younger Sibling. Unfortunately for him, Cesare is kind of destined to become one of the most bloodthirsty men in history.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Child Ballad #10, "Twa Sisters" and its myriad variations:

These sisters were walking on the bryn,
And the elder pushed the younger in.
"Oh sister, oh sister, oh lend me your hand,
And I will give you both houses and land."
"I'll neither give you my hand nor glove,
Unless you give me your true love."

  • Child Ballad #49, "The Two Brothers": The brothers are wrestling, one of them stabs the other. In some versions it's an accident, in most it's a murder with very unclear motives.
  • Child Ballad #13, "Edward": A mother questions her son about the blood on his shirt; though he tries to lie, he eventually admits to having killed his brother. (Or, in some versions, "a boy" not related to him.)
  • "Buenos Tardes Amigo", by Ween, is a Mexican style ballad about a man hunting the man who killed his brother, who was adored by the villagers, the local ladies, and their mother. Of course, it was these qualities that led him to kill his brother and pin it on the poor traveller.
  • Avenged Sevenfold (whose name was inspired by the passage of Cain and Abel) Have a song based on the passage, Titled Chapter 4.

I've come here to kill you,
won't leave until you've died
Murder born of vengeance,
I closed my brother's eyes tonight...


Religion And Mythology[edit | hide]

  • The Trope Namer is in The Bible (Genesis, chapter 4). Cain was a farmer, Abel was a shepherd. God wants a sacrifice, so Cain brings the produce of his farm and Abel brings some sheep. God preferred Abel's offering and rebuked Cain for being mad about it whereupon Cain lured Abel into a field and killed him.
    • Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem which claims that Abel provoked Cain by wrecking Cain's irrigation project to give the water to his cattle. (He also let them eat Cain's vegetables.) The last two lines of the poem explicitly state that the narrator thinks God's judgment on Cain was unfair.
    • The Bible also gives us Esau and Jacob, although they don't end up killing each other. And later, Jacob's son Joseph and his ten older brothers (mixing it with The Unfavorite).
    • Jacob's wives Rachel & Leah were this. Leah loved Jacob and bore him more sons but he favored Rachel. Understandable since Leah and her father tricked Jacob into marrying her and having to slave for another seven years to marry the woman he loved. Also Jacob chose Judah, his fourth-born, to become leader of his brothers. David was chosen to become King though he was the youngest.
    • Another Biblical example, Joseph's 10 older brothers sell him into slavery. In an odd twist, this later saves their lives when he (as second-in-command in Egypt) saves them all from a famine.
    • When Israel split in 2, Northern Israel is definitely Cain while Southern Judah is the Abel. Israel was wealthier and more influential but had the political stability of a game of Jenga while Judah was more spiritual and moderate. When these fight, Israel is usually the aggressor.
      • The Swedish Jonas Gardell made a point about this in his book About God, where he commented upon the fact that God showed a weird favoritism for younger sons, for no particular reason.
  • Romulus and Remus, the two founders of Rome in Roman mythology. Romulus was Cain to Remus's Abel.
  • Brother and sister war gods Ares and Athena would wrap entire nations up in their sibling rivalry.
  • Norse Mythology: Loki betrayed Odin, who was his sworn brother, even if they had different parents.
  • Karna and Arjuna from The Mahabharata of Hindu Mythology are these, though they don't realize it till the end of the Mahabharata (sort of a Luke, I Am Your Father moment). By that time, it's too late and Karna is dead.
  • Older Than Dirt: Set and Osiris from Egyptian Mythology. Set murdered his brother Osiris and took over Egypt, and later when Osiris' wife Isis tried to resurrect him, Set tore Osiris' body apart. This later caused Osiris' son to seek vengeance against Set after he grew up.


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • The feud between Bret and Owen Hart. An exception to the "older sibling is always the evil one" rule - younger brother Owen was the Heel here.
    • Several years later, Owen and his brother-in-law Davey Boy Smith almost had a similar feud - until Bret stepped in, kicking off the New Hart Foundation angle and stable
  • The Undertaker and Kane, who alternate between hating each other and teaming up as the "Brothers of Destruction". Again, Kane is the younger brother (despite being bigger than the Undertaker), and usually the heel when they feud.
    • In fact, Undertaker's original name was Cain the Undertaker.
    • Similar to Icehawk and Phoenix, above, this troper always liked the additional undercurrent of "ice and fire" the two have going.
      • Taker's more identified with death and lightning than ice (unless you're referring to "the icy grip of death", of course). Hey, wait a minute, maybe Glacier's the long-lost Brother of Destruction!
    • Which one set the fire that killed their parents varies on which one's a Face and which one's a Heel.
    • But if Kane is identified with fire, then wouldn't he be the more likely subject?
  • It was short lived (only lasting nearly three months until Wrestlemania 25), but the intense feud between straight edged Matt Hardy and free spirited (and more popular) younger brother Jeff (a rare example of the older brother being the heel here).
  • Edge and Christian during late 2001 to early 2002. At first they were brothers but they were announced as former partners after the feud was over.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Who can forget Urza and Mishra, the brothers who started it all in Magic: The Gathering?
  • Heironeous and Hextor, the gods of Lawful Good and Lawful Evil respectively in Dungeons & Dragons, are brothers. Their appearances are radically different: Heironeous appears as a tall blonde human and Hextor, by contrast, is a six armed ogreish monstrosity.
  • Prevalent in Warhammer 40,000's backstory, especially the primarchs: Horus killing Sanguinius, Fulgrim killing Ferrus Manus and mortally wounding Roboute Guilliman, Leman Russ coming within a hair of killing Magnus the Red, Roboute Guilliman killing Alpharius (maybe)...
    • Warhammer 40,000 provides an extreme example of this trope (as it does in so many things...) is that entire armies of superhuman, genetically-engineered brothers are trying to kill each other (the Space Marines and the Chaos Space Marines).
    • The Leman Russ/Magnus the Red example above is a pretty interesting example. Leman Russ and his Space Wolves were tricked by Horus into attacking the chapter, which in turn would lead to Magnus becoming the evil of the two brothers. In short, they unwittingly caused a betrayal because they were manipulated into believing it had already occurred. Leman Russ himself was simply following orders, which soon turned out to have been made by the main traitor himself.
      • Although it didn't help that Russ was all too willing to kill Magnus due to his personal dislike bordering on hatred for him as a result of his aversion to sorcery (which Magnus was a master of). Magnus, for his part, also disliked Russ, and chose to simply slaughter the attacking Space Wolves rather than attempt to reason with them.
        • Then again, probably any primarch still loyal would have shunned Magnus for going against the prohibitation of sorcery set up by the Emperor. Leman Russ and the Space Wolves in particular are very superstitious, so their dislike against Magnus was not only fueled by his ignorance to the rules set up by the Emperor, but also for the fact that they use advanced sorcery on a high level, which the Space Wolves reacted very poorly to.
  • Nobody can forget Vampire: The Masquerade's 15 year long epic plot arc involving almost a hundred books devoted to the Cain(e) and Abel. Caine is turned into the first vampire for his crime, and thus begins so much purple prose, wangst and vampires gone to the extreme that an entire retread, Vampire: The Requiem, was required just to put an end to Caine and his fanbase. Undeterred, entire fan cultures and anti-fan cultures have sprung up around resurrecting Caine's importance to the series.
    • The best part was the anticlimactic "endgame" scenario where Caine rallies all of the thousands of vampires on Earth to destroy his rebellious children, the Antediluvians. Abel's ghost appears, says he forgives him, and Caine blows it off like so much dishwater. Caine is a jerk.
    • The Book of Nod contains a reinterpretation of the story that makes Caine seem much more sympathetic and pins most of the blame on the G-man instead. After Caine's first sacrifice failed to impress (god likes blood), he reluctantly chose to sacrifice his own beloved brother instead. But rather than being impressed at the depth of Caine's devotion, god just threw a fit and cursed him instead. So he ended up short one favourite brother AND god's favour.
  • Set's vendetta against Osiris led to the creation of the Old World of Darkness' mummies.
  • Playing out this trope to its bloody end, and incurring the consequences, made Ravenloft's Strahd von Zarovich into the most legendary Big Bad in Dungeons & Dragons history, appearing in every edition from 1st to 4th, and inspiring one of the game's most innovative and popular settings. Even the Demon Queen of Spiders never had an entire campaign-world named after her house.
  • In the Forgotten Realms setting you have the twin goddesses Selûne and Shar. Having supposedly existed since the dawn of the universe and having been so close as to think of themselves as one being, they split apart on the issue of whether giving life to the barren universe would be a good idea. Selûne expresses her views on this matter by creating the Sun, which causes Shar to go Ax Crazy on her and the entire universe, forcing Selûne to smack her with a Heroic Sacrifice bomb. Millenia later, Selûne's dogma urges you to trust in her radiance and know that all love alive under her light shall know her blessing, while the dogma of Shar features the promotion of misery for its own sake and the direct order to destroy anything Selûne might possibly be related to, in hopes of one day tearing apart the entire universe back into the sweet nothingness it was before this whole pesky 'life' thing. Evidently, they are now not so close as to think of themselves as one being, and the family reunions must be very awkward.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • There is a ridiculous number of Shakespearean examples for this trope:
    • Hamlet's father was murdered by his younger brother Claudius -- and now Hamlet wants revenge. (The Kill Him Already element actually makes it better than it sounds.) Shakespeare allegedly wrote his version of Hamlet because he wanted to improve on a previous botched stage version called the ur-Hamlet. We'll never know just how bad or good the ur-Hamlet was, because no copies are known to exist.
    • Orlando and Oliver in As You Like It (older is evil)
    • Duke Frederick and Duke Senior in As You Like It (younger is evil)
    • Edmund and Edgar in King Lear (younger is evil)
    • Goneril/Regan and Cordelia in King Lear (older are evil)
    • Bianca and Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew
    • Bassianus and Saturninus in Titus Andronicus (older is worse, neither are prizes)
    • Don Pedro and Don John in Much Ado About Nothing (younger is worse, for no good reason)
    • Prospero and Antonio in The Tempest
    • Richard, Edward, and George in Richard III (youngest is evil; older two are jerks)
  • Verdi's Il trovatore takes this to extremes. Ok, it takes everything to extremes.
  • Wagner's Der Ring Des Nibelungen has some pretty messed-up brothers: Alberich enslaves Mime; the earth giant Fafner kills Fasolt over Wotan's treasure; and Hagan murders his half-brother Gunther over the ring.
  • Golaud kills Pelléas in Pelléas et Mélisande (Maeterlinck's play; Debussy's opera)
  • In The Skin of Our Teeth, after Cain killed his unnamed older brother, his parents had his name changed to Henry in an attempt to protect his reputation.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Baldur's Gate plays this trope straight in the first game, then takes it to its logical extreme in Throne of Bhaal, wherein five of the six required bosses are siblings of the player and of Imoen, who may or may not be in the party.
  • BlazBlue gives the example of Ragna and Jin, where Jin not only burnt down their home, but also presumably killed their sister, Saya, and to top things off, he cut off Ragna's arm. Though in Jin's defense, he was possibly possessed by the Big Bad.
    • Just pointing out that Saya wasn't actually killed there and then, and it was actually Terumi specifically who cut of Ragna's arm, Jin wasn't possessed at that point, but he did just stand there watching.
    • And in Continuum Shift's True Ending Ragna and Jin actually make peace with each other. Granted things are still shaky between them, what with Ragna being the destined Destroyer of the World and Jin the destined Antibody against him, but at least Jin isn't a crazy Yandere for Ragna anymore. Just in time for The Reveal of their missing little sister Saya being the Imperator of the NOL and the true Big Bad of the series -- yes, she's the one giving Terumi and Relius their marching orders. She also hates Ragna, Jin, and her own Robot Girl clone Noel and calls them "scum".
  • It's quite literal in Devil Survivor, where Naoya, the protagonist's older cousin, is revealed to be the original Cain, while the protagonist possesses Abel's essence (along with a bunch of other people, apparently). The dynamic's a little different though, as Naoya does not want to hurt the protagonist: He wants to make Abel reject God and become the king of Bel, and serves as a Stealth Mentor for most of the game to nudge you in that direction. He will only fight the protagonist's group in the Law and Atsuro endings, and in the latter case it's more a Secret Test of Character to see if the protagonist has the will to enslave the demons.
  • In Boktai, Django later finds out Sabata is his (initially) evil, half-brother.
  • In Clive Barker's Undying, all the Convenant children fell to the curse of the Undying King, only to be resurrected as monstrous forms of their previous selves. They're out to kill Jeremiah, the last surviving son, to complete the curse.
    • There are also Bethany and Aaron, twins who utterly despised one another and were in constant rivalry. Bethany won, by chaining up her brother in a dungeon accessed through her room to be eaten by rats, and removing his jaw so he couldn't scream.
  • Literal example in the Command & Conquer series: Kane is hinted to be the (immortal) Biblical Cain, and Renegade even has his Temple in Sarajevo being built around the tomb of his murdered brother Abel.
  • Kasumi and her evil—or at least very AntiHeroic—half-sister Ayane, from Dead or Alive.
  • Dante and Vergil of Devil May Cry.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind gives us Vedam Dren, the noble duke of Vvardenfell, and Orvas Dren, the leader of the xenophobic criminal organization, The Camonna Tong.
  • In F.E.A.R., it is heavily implied that The Dragon is the Player Character's brother, the homicidal Japanese ghost (think along the lines of The Ring) is their mother and the scientist who created the three of them is their maternal grandfather (as in their mother's father). All in all they're a Big Screwed-Up Family.
    • Implied, nothing—it's explicitly canon that Alma (the homicidal female ghost) is the Point Man's mother, Paxton Fettel (The Dragon) is the Point Man's brother, and the Mad Scientist responsible for the creation and birth of both the Point Man and Fettel was Alma's father Harlan Wade, who ruthlessly exploited his naturally born daughter's psychic abilities in an attempt to create Super Soldiers.
  • This happened to no end to Cecil in Final Fantasy IV. His best friend and comrade in arms who betrays him is actually 'named" Cain. (Kain in the original North American release, because I guess it was too obvious otherwise?). The second time it was revealed that Big Bad Golbez was his actual brother. Of course, it was revealed in the end that both were actually just being mind-controlled by the Man Behind the Man.
    • In the DS version, it is revealed that Golbez, known way back as Theodor, was compelled by Zemus to abandon his baby brother in the woods outside Baron. If you're wondering why Cecil thinks the king as his own father up until The Reveal, now you know.
    • To be fair to Golbez, he pretty much makes up for being the Cain in the Sequel when he performs a Heroic Sacrifice. Even in the Crisis Crossover Dissidia Final Fantasy he ends up being the game's Stealth Mentor
    • And to drive the point home, you can not only get Kain's Lance, but Abel's Lance in a bonus dungeon of the GBA version.
  • Tons of examples In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War. First the brothers of RebelliousPrince Jamka are brutish pawns of the loputo cult. Afterwards comes the younger brother of Briggid, who killed his own father to get the title of Duke, Danan the evil brother of Mad Dictators Handsome Son Lex. Similarily Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter Tiltyu's brother took after their father. Near the end the emancipated but super strong brother of Johan/Johalva shows up for revenge. Finally theres Princess Yuria when she is not brainwashed is good and has the gamebreaking Narga light magic, while her twin brother Prince Yuris is the inbred vassal of Loputousu who (barring Cherry Tapping) needs to be killed with Narga and wields dark magic. Yes, genealogy of the Holy War IS creepy.
      • Furthermore, only one of the pair of Johan and Johalva can be recruited, making the non-recruited one turn against his brother. And most significantly Prince Celice is also Julius's half brother
    • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade there's Nietzsche Wannabe King Zephiel and his much gentler half-sister, Princess Guinevere...
    • Let's not forget the twins Eirika and Ephraim and their friend Lyon in The Sacred Stones, whose repressed jealousy towards them is one of the reasons leading him to become the main antagonist. That, and both his "Well Done, Son" Guy tendencies and a Sealed Evil in a Can
    • Path of Radiance's Mad King Ashnard probably fits. What with killing all of his other siblings and all.
    • Subverted in the first game, in which the token red and green cavaliers were actually named Cain and Abel, despite not actually being involved in any such feud.
  • Roland and Archibald Ironfist of Heroes of Might and Magic. Though, ultimately, neither brother is willing to go all the way: in their respective endings in Heroes II, Archibald gets Taken for Granite and Roland is imprisoned in the western tower (canonically, the first is what happened), and when next the two brothers meet, Archibald helps save Roland, taking him to Roland's wife despite knowing full well that she has every intention of executing him should she get the chance—Roland, in turn, intercedes on Archibald's behalf and gets the sentence down to exile.
  • The Snake Brothers (okay, "Les Enfants Terribles", strictly) in the Metal Gear Solid series. Liquid seems to enjoy the rivalry immensely. Perhaps a little too much.
    • It's no coincidence that their mother's codename is EVA. She's explicitly linked with Eve, and not only by reference to her sons - this is her on the boys' father, who at the time went by the codename Naked Snake: "But...it was I who tempted the Snake, and got away with the forbidden fruit of knowledge."
    • Big Boss and Ocelot are another example, but in a more lighthearted and friendly way.
    • Big Boss and Gene are yet another example, in a much less lighthearted and friendly way.
  • In Mother 3, Lucas must fight his brother Claus, who was killed, reanimated, and brainwashed into being the Pig King's loyal minion. When Claus snaps out of it, it's too late.
  • In Starsiege, two mech pilot brothers are codenamed...Icehawk (the older, a cold-blooded by-the-book pilot who is loyal to the Emperor) and Phoenix (the younger, a prodigy pilot who has a knack for escaping from impossible situations and joins the Mars Rebellion). They are and are not actually related: Icehawk's real brother was critically injured in an accident and the Emperor secretly had his brain replaced by the organi-mechanical brain of his own son, as a way to continue his son's existence. Indeed, a hidden sect of people in the game world do this with their brains all the time, choosing children with life-threatening injuries and swapping brains with them while they're hospitalized.
  • Street Fighter IV. It's a definite shout out to the bible, a hero being named Abel, only the Cain is named Seth. It's made very obvious that Abel is a product of S.I.N. experiments like Seth, in both his Ultra Combo(Where his eyes change color to resemble Seth's), Abel's ending, and both of their win quotes against each other in Arcade Mode.
    • According to Word of God, Seth was indeed originally going to be named Cain, but this was changed due to some other fighting game having a character with a similar name. It also helps that Seth is the name of Capcom's senior manager, Seth Killian, also known as "S-Kill".
    • This also works for Akuma and Gouken.
  • The obscure PC game Sanity: Aiken's Artifact feature such a storyline with someone named Cain as the protagonist and the so-called foster brother Abel as the final boss.
  • In Grandia II the main character must fight his older, more skilled, possessed brother.
  • In SaGa Frontier, there are Blue and Rouge, twins who're told to kill the other after mastering as much magic as possible. Who wins is irrelevant, since they turn out to be the same person, Split At Birth.
  • In the fashion of the Tekkaman Blade example, Super Robot Wars Compact 3 gives us sworn brothers Folka Albark (the elder, main protagonist) and Fernando Albark (the younger rival). Then there's their older brother Altis Tarl, also in the enemy's side. Subverted because Fernando and Altis are not outright evil, they're just Folka's enemies on circumstances.
    • The first Original Generation game has brothers Raideisse and Elzam Branstien fighting for the first half of the story. Mostly because they happen to be on opposite sides of a war, but it also brings out a measure of animosity, mostly on Rai's part, over the death of Elzam's wife (Long Story), whom it's suggested Rai was in love with.
    • In Super Robot Wars NEO, Amane Inaba when possessed by Larva is the Cain and Kakeru Inaba is the Abel.
  • Jacky and Sarah Bryant from Virtua Fighter had to go through this. In the first two tournaments, J6 brainwashed her and had her try to kill her brother. After she was freed from their control, her motivation for joining recent tournaments was to fight and defeat her brother, not knowing this is all part of J6's plot.
  • Kuja and Zidane of Final Fantasy IX.
  • The ridiculously gory and difficult adventure game Waxworks was built around this concept. Your family was cursed so that one of every set of twins becomes evil, and you have to go back in time using the titular waxworks building to kill the worst of them and break the curse. Your own brother is incapacitated before and throughout the game, and part of your goal is to save him, but other than this, the "evil twin" aspect isn't played up much: the evil brothers of the past include Jack the Ripper, a necromancer who looks far older than his good twin, and a human/fungus mutant who doesn't even resemble a human anymore.
  • In the Warcraft universe, night elf twin brothers Illidan and Malfurion Stormrage are Cain & Abel respectively. Illidan became a demon literally due to his consuming the power of the Skull of Gul'Dan and figuratively due to his addiction to magic.
    • His jealousy over priestess Tyrande Whisperwind choosing his brother over him was actually the plot point that fixed their 10,000-year-old-feud. Events spanning throughout the third game and its expansion culminate in the brothers teaming up to save Tyrande and making up before Illidan leaves Ashenvale (for reasons not revolving around the Night Elves).
    • In the Backstory, Darion (Abel) and Renault (Cain) Mograine become this, fueled by their father's perceived Parental Favoritism toward Darion. Though Renault turned his ire on Dad first.
    • In World of Warcraft, this happens with Krenna and Gorgonna in Conquest Hold. Krenna, the commander, wants to wage war on the alliance, and the more reasonable Gorgonna doesn't want it to happen. In the last quest in the chain, you fight alongside Gorgonna against Krenna and her bodyguards, killing Krenna and allowing her to take command. Despite the fact that she knew killing her was necessary, Gorgonna mourns the loss of her sister.
  • In Backyard Sports, Angela and Tony Delvecchio, siblings, play better on opposite teams in many games. This makes it tough to defeat one sibling using the other on a team.
  • Aku Aku and Uka Uka in the Crash Bandicoot series.
  • Tekken has Nina and Anna Williams.
    • Kazuya Mishima and Lee Chaolan fit this trope as well since, technically Lee is Heihachi's son through adoption.
    • Likewise with Kazuya and Lars, since Lars is the son of Heihachi and a Swedish mistress.
  • Last Scenario has Castor and Ethan, respectively, including the age rule. However, it's pointed out that the younger of the two plays the role of an older sibling in many respects, which may make this a slight variation on the usual set-up.
  • Exit Fate also contains two such siblings (in this case, twins of opposite genders): Brunhild and Daniel. Clearly, SCF likes putting siblings at odds with each other...
  • Mickey Mouse and his older half-brother Oswald the Lucky Rabbit are this in Epic Mickey.
  • Borderlands gives us Jaynis and Taylor Kobb. Taylor hires you to kill his brother so he can take over Jaynistown...and then turns out to be even worse so you have to kill him too.
  • The ending of Breath of Fire III reveals that Bleu/Deis, protector of the Dragons, is actually the Goddess Myria's sister.
  • The premise of Fable III. Big Bad Logan is the tyrannical ruler of Albion you must overthrow and the son of the previous game's player character. He also happens to be your older brother. Depending on your own approach, you can potentially be better or worse than him.
  • There's a sidequest in the first Mass Effect in which Nassana Dantius, an asari diplomat on the Citadel, asks you to rescue her sister, Dahlia, from slavers. After you defeat the slavers, you find out that Dahlia was the leader of the slaver group. Who you killed. Nassana wanted Dahlia dead because having a slaver sister would possibly hamper her career.
  • The trailers for Modern Warfare 2 explicitly invoke the murder of Abel, with Makarov talking about the blood of those killed by the United States and the UK crying out from the earth, and noting that they cannot hear the cries because they do not come from their own soil....but they will.
  • This trope is what led to Fuuka's murder in Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten.
  • This comes up several times in Dragon Age II. Near the end of Act I, Bartrand succumbs to greed and the lyrium idol's curse and tries to kill Varric to avoid sharing the wealth. Varric can either kill Bartrand as payback, kill him to save him from the lyrium idol's corruption, or put him in an asylum to care for him. In the "Fool's Gold" sidequest the middle brother Iwan leaves his older brother Emerys and his younger brother Merin to the darkspawn so he can claim a valuable magical sword for himself. Varric will even mention that this story is awfully similar to what happened to him. In the endgame, if Hawke supports the Templars, he/she may end up fighting and executing Bethany if she joined the Circle. Oddly enough, Hawke's more antagonist sibling Carver will never fight Hawke and even defends him/her as a Templar when Meredith orders him to kill Hawke.
  • In Kid Icarus, Parthena and Medusa, sister goddesses of light and darkness respectively, have this type of relationship. It's not hard to guess which one is the evil one. It's subverted in that Parthena did not kill her herself, she only turned her into a monster and banished her. The angel Pit finished the job.
  • Fear Effect. Glas and Drew, with Glas being Abel and Drew being Cain. Rain and Mist, with Rain being Abel and Mist being Cain. Subverted in both cases, with Glas and Rain not only surviving the attempts on their lives, but end up killing off Drew and Mist.
  • Kratos actually has several of these in God of War, being a son of Zeus and all, the foremost being Ares, who tricked him into killing his wife and daughter. In only two cases, however, is the connection actually remarked upon; with Hercules, a "Well Done, Son" Guy who hopes to surpass Kratos, and Athena, who plays the role of ally, reluctant enemy, ally again, and finally Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Bi-Han (Noob Saibot) and Kuai-Liang (Sub-Zero II) from Mortal Kombat
  • In Soul Calibur V, Sophitia's children Patroclus and Pyrrha are driven to this thanks to being egged on by Soul Calibur and Soul Edge respectively. Fortunately, the siblings are strong enough to eventually overcome the influence of both swords for each others' sake.
  • League of Legends has two pairs. Kayle and Morgana are ancient angels locked in an Order Versus Chaos war with each serving the league in hopes of gaining the power to defeat the other. Nasus tutored scholars in mystic arts while Renekton judged if they were worthy of learning them, until the evil he saw in their minds drove him into insanity and constant rage and he attacked Nasus as the only one who could kill him.


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • An adopted example: Franziska von Karma has some severe issues with her "little brother" Miles Edgeworth. She's determined to outdo him in nearly every respect, especially prosecuting, and is unhappy that she won't get to prosecute before he does (even though she's seven years younger than Edgeworth). Edgeworth doesn't seem to care very much, which only infuriates Franziska more.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Kristoph and Klavier Gavin are respectively Cain and Abel, with Kristoph being an Amoral Attorney who is responsible for Phoenix getting disbarred, and Klavier being a more moral prosecutor..
  • Shiki and SHIKI in Tsukihime. Best friends, adopted siblings. Then SHIKI goes crazy because Roa possessed him plus his inversion went off. Still, turns out if they're able to meet on friendly (Kagetsu Tohya) or semi sane (Kohaku's route) terms they still actually get along quite well, and he's not really that bad a guy.
    • Also from the Nasuverse are the Aozaki sisters, Touko and Aoko, although the details aren't clear.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni has four siblings in one Big Screwed-Up Family. It also subverts the usual "brothers or sisters" rivalry. Krauss is largely resented by his younger siblings, particularly Eva, who actually takes her resentment out on Krauss's wife, Natsuhi. All four of them are pretty messed up, though, due to being raised by Kinzo, and at certain points, even Krauss and Rudolf admit that they wish they'd been better older brothers to Rosa.
  • Twin brothers Leni and Seizh of Under the Moon seem to get along fine at first, but Seizh's simmering inferiority complex regarding his more successful sibling is itching for an outlet.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire sometimes pits Dominic and Gregory against their necromancer brother Jacob. Early on, there was an interesting twist: Dominic hated Jacob, but Gregory still wanted to believe the best of him.
    • Luna's relationship with her sisters was also like this for a while, but the three eventually decided to try and at least tolerate each other after the rest of their family got themselves killed with their petty fighting.
  • In It's Walky, Walky and his separated-at-birth sister Sal have fought each other at least twice, and they get pretty rough. Also, Beef, who was believed to be Walky's twin brother, betrays SEMME in part because of being upstaged by his puny airhead adoptive brother.
  • Elan and Nale from Order of the Stick.
    • And Redcloak and Right-Eye, in a more heart-rending and sympathetic example. Redcloak didn't kill his brother over rivalry, it was because of his Fatal Flaw.
    • Elan created a situation like this between his puppet Banjo the Clown and another puppet Giggles the evil Clown god of slapstick. Since deities are powered by belief, the two of them are actually gods now that an entire orc tribe worships Giggles and Banjo is his equally powerful rival. The orc high priest of Giggles liked Elan's suggestion that the two were brothers.
  • In Penny Arcade, Tycho once compared his relationship with his brother to this:

Gabe: Is that bad? Aren't you guys brothers or something?
Tycho: You might recall that Cain and Abel were brothers.

  • Lint: Fang and Sangwine.
  • Isaac Jenner and his brother Gabriel from Demonology 101 respectively, with a slight variation in that Issac is the younger brother whereas in most cases the older brother is portrayed as the villainous one. His hatred stems mainly from his status as the The Unfavorite, both in the eyes of his father and those of The Powers That Be. Isaac mellows out a bit after meeting Madeline, a demon whom he falls in love with, and eventually gives up on trying to kill Gabriel as part of a deal with The Hero to save her life.
  • Haru-Sari Noel and Leon.
  • Bob and George: Bob likes to burn things and George likes ice cream. Plus at the end it is revealed that this was all a plot to ensure that the hero George would kill the villain Bob if he had to.
    • Since robots from the same creator are termed siblings, a good number of other fights.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del's Rory and Ethan.
  • Oasis and Kusari in Sluggy Freelance. Oasis actually killed Kusari once, but she got better.
    • Admittedly, it's unclear if their siblings in the traditional sense of the word, or if it's some weird clone/other-half-of-a-supernatural-force thing or what-have-you.
  • Can we mention everyone's favorite Yaoi webcomic, Starfighter? They're not brothers or even friends, but Cain is the codename of the violent Seme and Abel is the much nicer Uke.
  • Eight Bit Theater's Black Mage once watched his own blind brother stumble around an uneven room laced with knives and tiger pits, even going so far as to push him when it seemed said brother would survive the ordeal. Of course, it would have been cruel to let him live after what he did to his eyes...
  • In Drowtales, this tends to happen due to Royally Screwed-Up families:
    • Vy'chriel and Yaeminira. Yae was an adopted "protector twin", and The Unfavorite. She killed Vy'chriel for the crime of refusing to tow the family line and took her name.
    • The fandom now fears for Chrys and her "protector twin", Shinae.
      • Chrys' mother actually warns them against betraying each other with a story about the first "protector twin", and what happened when the true daughter betrayed her.
    • To a much lesser extent, Ariel and her older "sister" Syphile. Syphile was forced to become Ariel's Governess, despite having never been trained in childcare. After years with a Babysitter From Hell, when asked what she would most like to do, the ten - year old Ariel replies "kill Syphile".
  • In American Barbarian, Rick finds himself fighting his oldest brother. And realizes he was party to the deaths of their other five brothers.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In The Gamers Alliance, both Refan and Zarnagon and Leraje and Ronove are this as they work for opposite sides in the war.
  • Anthony and Lyn Laeil Burbank from Survival of the Fittest (although the gender tradition is bucked here
    • Another example would be Josee Trembley and Remy Kim of v4, who suffer from a Sibling Rivalry as a result of both siblings trying to win their mother's love as a result of both seeing themselves as The Unfavorite. Currently somewhat played with, as Josee actually wants either one of them to live to return home, and it looks like a team-up is in the works.
  • Cortez and Mendoza Cardinal from The Leet World. Cortez was the leader of the Ochos Muertos terrorist group, Mendoza his second-in-command. When Cortez rejects Mendoza's plans to gain power and wealth, a furious Mendoza betrays brother, taking control of the Muertos and leaving Cortez blind. Years later, he hires the Domination Guy to kill Cortez, and when that fails, he concocts an elaborate plan to enter the House and finish his brother off.
    • Played with when Team Dad Westheimer kills Mendoza in the final challenge, saving Cortez's life. However, Cortez (who had sworn to have his revenge on his brother for blinding him) is furious, and vows to avenge Mendoza's death.

Westheimer: I don't care about this feud of theirs. Probably goes back to "who did Mommy love more?"
Cortez and Mendoza: Me!

  • The SCP Foundation has two subjects named Cain and Able (along with a Lilith who refuses to confirm or deny any relationship with them) with semi-complementary powers (Cain is an otherwise pleasant man with metal limbs who destroys any plant-based matter on contact, and anyone who hurts him receives the same injuries; Able is an eternally resurrecting and extremely deadly Implacable Man who became a Psycho for Hire for the SCP out of "boredom"). Able is still murderously angry at Cain (becoming violent at the sight of Cain's Oth, although he shouldn't be able to know what it is if God gave it to Cain after Able was killed...
    • They're both pretty much immortal, I'm guessing they've again long before the SCP found them, and sometime after the Bible's story with them.
    • It is an interesting take on the trope since, given their powers, this troper assumed what actually happened was Able tried to kill Cain and was killed by the damage being reflected back at him.
    • This troper thought SCP-343 would have given Cain his immortality and reflection so that he would not be killed by anything, man or nature, as per his punishment in Genesis. Able [sic] was the hunter of the family, and is mighty pissed for having been killed by his brother, so God gave him immortality as well as extreme fighting ability (with the whole making blades out of nothing and such) in return.
    • A lot of the history of the two is just speculation. Unlike some biblically inspired SCPs like Clef's proposal for SCP-001, they are decidedly different from the original versions, opening up interpretation as to how much of the Cain and Abel story is true and whether it even applies to them.
  • Jeremy and Bran from Shadow of the Templar. While Jeremy still cares for Bran and wants him to reconcile with their father, Bran despises Jeremy for being a better thief than him and having stolen his father's attention from him despite being "only" a foster son. Whenever the two meet, it's always highly uncertain whether Bran will listen to Jeremy or kill him out of spite. It's even all but said that they had sexual relations in the past, which really makes their current relationship a helluva complicated one.
  • MSF High Forum: Mel'lon and Rich.
  • Stupid Mario Brothers has Merlin and Nox Decious.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Cartman and Scott Tenorman in South Park.
  • In an interesting if debated adaptation choice, the film The Prince of Egypt made Moses the adopted brother of Rameses instead of his nephew, then played this trope to the hilt.
    • The Biblical version had Moses found by Pharaoh's daughter, while The Prince of Egypt had his foster mother as Pharaoh's wife. Given marriage customs among Egyptian royalty of the time period, the same woman could easily be the daughter of Pharaoh X and the wife of his successor, Pharaoh Y. Thus, identifying her by her relationship to a Pharaoh depends on which Pharaoh is the point of reference.
  • In the various versions of He-Man and the Masters of the Universe: Big Bad Skeletor was supposed to secretly have once been Keldor, the brother of King Randor (and thus Prince Adam/He-Man's uncle). This was never officially revealed in any canon but has been confirmed as the intended outcome of the original minicomics that had already begun to anviliciouslly hint at it when the toyline was axed. Skeletor's past as Keldor was depicted in the 2002 rebooted cartoon and the backstory of he and Randor being half-brothers was discussed by the writers on a DVD commentary as being an additional reason for their more specific & personal animosity in that version.
  • Mufasa and Scar in The Lion King, with the unfortunate addendum that Mufasa had no idea Scar was plotting against him until it was too late. A rare case where the younger brother is the evil one.
    • Judging by the title of the product and type of government the animal kingdom in the story was based on, this would fall under The Evil Prince variety.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the royal family of the Fire Nation exhibits this with two sets of siblings. As above, in both cases the younger sib is the outright sociopath of the two. On one of the occasions where Azula outright attempts to kill her brother, she shouts, "I'm about to celebrate becoming an only child!"
    • In Season Three, Sozin and Roku are revealed to have been as close as brothers in their youth. Then Roku went away to become the Avatar, and Sozin became Fire Lord and decided that what the world really needed was to be conquered by him. They'd grown apart rather, and Roku kept shutting Sozin down flat whenever he brought these ideas up. Eventually Roku violently halted an invasion of the Earth Kingdom, which Sozin interpreted as a permanent breach of their old friendship...and therefore betrayed Roku to his death during a volcanic eruption, leaving him free to launch his world conquest.
  • Dexters Laboratory: In the episode "My Dad vs. Your Dad" Mandark's father Windbear engages in a family feud with Dexter's Dad over political differences and beliefs.
  • Starfire and Blackfire of Teen Titans, who still look like a parallel of Queens Elizabeth and Mary Tudor, even though Glen Murakami admits that they watered down the much more intense rivalry of the original comics into a more kid-friendly, "I Dream of Jeannie/Bewitched kind of way." If you're even slightly familiar with the comics, you'll know what he's talking about.
  • Cree and Numbuh 5 of Codename: Kids Next Door. Also Numbuh 1's dad and Father
  • Re Boot's principal villains, Megabyte and Hexadecimal, are brother and sister, yet they are always trying to kill each other. When an incredulous Bob asks why, Hexadecimal casually explains that it's just "sibling rivalry."
    • Thanks to a Retcon, Megabyte and Matrix fit this too. Matrix's dad, Wellman Matrix, is responsible for the "birth" of Megabyte. Megabyte even calls the nullified Wellman "father" so this makes Megabyte and Matrix brothers. Good thing Matrix doesn't know this since he has a problem with viruses.
  • Played with by The Venture Brothers where Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture eats his twin brother Jonas Venture, Jr while they were still fetuses. Jonas survives and later escapes, and attacks Thaddeus but gives up because he can't kill his own pathetic brother. Jonas finding his true calling as a heroic man of science quickly becomes a success financially, and with the ladies. Its basically implied that both would be successful if Thaddeus became a super villain, and arched his good brother.
    • As the series progresses it's hard to say who is Cain and who is Abel - Jonas Jr. is certainly living up to their father's legend, but we start to see that Jonas Sr. had a pretty sleazy side.
  • In Shadow Raiders, Femur arranged for his brother to be locked away in the prison planet, a hellhole where the Cluster's worst war criminals were sent to, where he was subjected to horrific tortures and expected not to survive. Considering Femur had to bribe the soldiers that were dragging him away so he wouldn't be executed, Sternum had it coming for A: trying it and B: not using more loyal guards.
  • The Diabolical Mastermind and Big Bad Phaeton and the Proud Warrior Race Guy and Defector From Decadence Marsala from Exo Squad. Although both were created artificially, they were from the same brood (and one of the earliest surviving, at that), so by Terran standards, they would have been brothers.
    • To add to the fun, it's implied that Phaeton's villainy is an attempt to compensate for having betrayed Marsala during the First Neosapien War fifty years ago.
  • The Professor Amadeus Sharpe and his older brother Mad Scientist Wilbur Sharpe aka Dr. Scarab, from Bionic Six.
  • The Miser Brothers, Snow Miser and Heat Miser from The Year Without a Santa Claus, might be one of the best examples of this trope.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003, adoptive brothers Hamato Yoshi and Yukio Mashimi become this when Mashimi, in a fit of jealousy, kills fellow adoptee and love triangle member Tang Shen. Afterwards, Yoshi kills Mashimi in revenge.
    • This is an adaptation of the story of Hamato Yoshi and Oroku Nagi from the original Turtles story, which led to quite the Cycle of Revenge when Nagi's younger brother Oroku Saki, who would later become the Shredder, murdered both Yoshi and Shen in vengeance for Yoshi killing Nagi.
  • Ang, the Golden Dragon and his twin sister Ying, the Shadow Dragon (whose names sound suspiciously like Yang and Yin) in Legend of the Dragon, at least until Ying's Heel Face Turn.
  • In the Di-Gata Defenders Backstory Nazmul was the Cain to Adar's Abel. Nazmul became corrupted by his power and created the megalith in order to seize all the power of the di-gata stones for himself.
  • In the episode "Gonna Getcha" of The Angry Beavers, the Beaver brothers watch a movie with a Cain and Abel plot. Daggett gets absolutely loaded with Paranoia Fuel.
  • The relationship between Mojo Jojo and the girls in The Powerpuff Girls could easily be seen this way, especially after it's revealed that it was Mojo who caused the accidental addition of Chemical X into the perfect girl mixture. Interestingly enough, it's he who has a Villainous Breakdown when the truth is revealed...
  • In "The Secret Origins of Darkwing Duck", Negaduck is said to be Darkwing's cousin, raised by Space Pirates.
  • Transformers has Planet-sized, Transforming Mecha (that turn into planets) Physical Gods Primus and Unicron. Unicron is the Big Bad God of Evil Omnicidal Maniac seeking to destroy everything that isn't him. Primus is the Big Good who is completely loaded with BFGs and Wave Motion Guns seeking to thwart his brother. However, his trump card isn't any of that weaponry - it's the Transformers themselves. Unfortunately, they'd rather spend their time fighting each other.
  • A rather lighthearted example appears in Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends. The imaginary friends Imaginary Man and Nemesis (short for Nemesister) were created by a boy and his Bratty Half-Pint sister respectively—the sister created Nemesis just to bug her brother and Imaginary Man. Their feud continues after the now grown up siblings adopt Imaginary Man and Nemesis for their children. Ironically enough, the brother adopts Nemesis thinking she would be the perfect friend for his daughter and the sister adopts Imaginary Man thinking he would be the perfect friend for her son.
    • Terrence and Mac can be viewed this way.
  • Defenders of the Earth has the Phantom and his brother Kurt.
  • Zeus and Hades in |Hercules.
  • Luna and Celestia form a rather complicated example in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. Luna got corrupted by an outside influence and when that was gone Celestia immediately offered to return her to power.
  • In the Thundercats 2011 episode "Between Brothers," Big Bad Mumm-Ra hopes to invoke this trope when Sibling Rivals Lion-O and Tygra travel to the Astral Plane, where they witness a scene from their youth that drives them to Sword Fight, Tygra using an astral copy of Lion-O's own Sword of Omens.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The inheritance of crown of Ottoman Turkey was basically arranged by an all-around game of elimination. Once the Sultan had died, his sons began killing each other. The last survivor became the new Sultan. A similar method was used in the Assyrian Empire.
  • An interesting historical example is the murder of King Erik IV of Denmark by his brother, Abel. Chroniclers called the murderer "Abel by name, Cain by deeds."
  • The Mughal dynasty had a lot of these. A prominent example is the murder of Prince Dara Shikoh, the King's oldest and favorite by Aurangazeb, a younger son.
  • The Minamoto brothers, Yoritomo and Yoshitsune, in feudal Japan.
  • The Banquet of Nyköping 1317. The Swedish king Birger had invited his younger brothers, dukes Valdemar and Erik, to Castle Nyköping to feast the Christmas. After everyone had feasted and gotten drunk, king Magnus imprisoned his brothers, put them in the oubliette of the castle - and threw the key to nearby river. Dukes died from starvation. The key was found 1847.
    • Well, to be fair Valdemar and Erik had already held Birger captured and forced him to effectively give up two thirds of Sweden during the Håtuna games. They played with this trope a bit back then.
  • In 16th century Sweden, king Erik XIV starts behaving like he is insane and is deposed and imprisoned by his younger brother Johan after an insurrection. Johan makes himself king, while Erik's son and heir to the throne Erik Jr disappears abroad. Later king Johan has Erik Sr poisoned to death. About two decades later, Johan's son king Sigismund is deposed by his uncle Karl (Johan's youngest half-brother) in another insurrection, but escapes to Poland. These decades of political turmoil makes king Karl institute constitutional reforms that deprive the royal princes of the economic resources needed for insurrections.
    • I think Karl IX was Johan's full brother, only Erik was carried by another mother.
  • The Ptolemys of Egypt were great proponents of this. A rather famous one Cleopatra, was a big fan.
  • One of the greatest Emperor of Tang Dynasty, Emperor Tang Taizong is this trope. In an infamous incident known as the Xuánwǔmén zhī biàn, he ambushed his older brother Li Jiancheng (the crown prince) and his younger brother Li Yuanji. He killed his older brother personally, forced his father to make him crown prince only to make it proper for his father to surrender his throne to him just two months later.
    • Oh ya, he also killed the sons of both Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji, and made Li Yuanji's wife his concubine. That's just some badassery.
    • And it's true that he's a noble Emperor.
    • Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji were also plotting against Li Shimin (brother number two). Li Jiancheng was jealous of his second brother because Li Shimin was more capable in almost every respect, and may have feared losing his crown prince position to him as a result. He recruited his third brother who was similarly jealous, and the two of them were in fact preparing an ambush/attack of their own at the very moment they themselves were ambushed. Or so it has been recorded. (History tending to be written by winners who become emperors. . . .)
  • Baby sharks developing in the womb will fight and eat each other before they are born. Only two sharks end up being born, and that's only because there are two separate wombs.
  • Similarly, chicks of several species birds of prey are known to murder their siblings while in nest.
  • A bit of a subversion, as they technically aren't related by blood, but cuckoo chicks will evict the other eggs and hatchlings so that the parents will focus all their attention on them.
  • Following the death of John VI of Portugal, his oldest son Pedro (then Emperor of Brazil) briefly succeeded to the throne. After abdicating in favor of his infant daughter Maria, Pedro's younger brother Miguel declared himself King, wich led to the Portuguese Civil War (alternatively known as the War of the Two Brothers.) Six years later, Maria was returned to the throne, Miguel and his family were forced into exile, and Pedro died shortly after achieving victory.
  • Though it will never be proven, it's extremely likely that Cesare Borgia (son of Pope Alexander VI and then-Cardinal of Valencia) murdered or ordered the murder of his younger brother, Giovanni (Juan) Borgia, the Duke of Gandia. Juan was a hopelessly inept military commander, favored by his father; Cesare hated him and wanted his position. Being a magnificent bastard in more ways than one Cesare actually excelled at the job until his father died and ran out of funds.
  • William the Conquerors children; Henry (who may have (re:almost certainly) had his other brother William Rufus murdered to gain the throne of England) staged a coup in Normandy against his eldest brother Richard, while the other was on crusade, and later imprisoned him.