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The Sea of Ice (1824)  by Caspar David Friedrich
The Sea of Ice (1824) by Caspar David Friedrich
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog (1818) by Caspar David Friedrich

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

An adventure is an activity that comprises risky, dangerous, or uncertain experiences.

In the context of a narrative, the adventure genre is typically applied to works in which the protagonist or other major characters are consistently placed in dangerous situations, and a character who lives by their wits and their skills is often called an adventurer. Adventure novels and adventure films are both prominent genres in their respective media, although the latter has fallen out of the spotlight with the rise of the modern-style action film. In games, the term is less consistently applied: the term "adventure game" is used in reference to video game that make use of exploration, interaction, and problem solving, while role-playing games use the term "adventure" in reference to specific pre-planned segments of gameplay.


Adventure in mythology

The oldest and most widespread stories in the world are adventure stories.

Joseph Campbell discussed his notion of the monomyth in his book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces. Campbell proposed that the heroic mythological stories from culture to culture followed a similar underlying pattern, starting with the "call to adventure", followed by a hazardous journey and eventual triumph. The adventure novel exhibits these "protagonist on adventurous journey" characteristics as do many popular feature films, such as Star Wars.


An adventurer is a person who bases his lifestyle or their fortunes on adventurous acts. An adventurer or adventuress is a term that usually takes one of three meanings:

  • One whose travels are unusual and often exotic, though not so unique as to qualify as exploration.
  • One who lives by their wits.
  • One who takes part in a risky or speculative course of action for profit or position.

In fiction, the adventurer figure or Picaro may be regarded as a descendant of the knight-errant of Medieval romance. Like the knight, the adventurer roams through episodic encounters, usually involving wealth, romance, or fighting. Unlike the knight, the adventurer was a realistic figure, often lower class or otherwise impoverished, who is forced to make his way to fortune, often by deceit. Also, an adventurer is a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his or her wits in a corrupt society. The picaresque novel originated in Spain in the middle of the fifteenth century. Novels such as Lazarillo de Tormes were influential across Europe. Throughout the eighteenth century, a great number of novels featured bold, amoral, adventuring protagonists, who made their way into wealth and happiness, sometimes with and sometimes without the moral conversion that generally accompanies the Spanish model.

Under Victorian morality the term, used without qualifiers, came to imply a person of low moral character, often someone trying to marry for money.

In comic book handbooks such as Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe and Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe, the term "adventurer" is used as a synonym for "super-hero" when listing a character's occupation.

In role-playing games, the player characters are often professional adventurers, who earn wealth and fame by adventure, such as undertaking hazardous missions, exploring ruins, and slaying monsters. This stereotype is strong enough that the adventurers can often be used as a synonym for the player characters. However non-player character groups of adventurers can also exist, and can be an interesting encounter for the players.

List of adventurers

Historical adventurers

Modern adventurers

Fictional adventurers

See also

adventure novel

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Adventure" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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