Picaresque is a genre of usually {{satir|e}}ic {{prose fiction}} originating in Spain and depicting in realistic, often humorous detail the adventures of a [[LoveableRogue roguish hero]] of low social degree living by his or her wits in a corrupt society.

A traditional picaresque is often a ShaggyDogStory and/or has a RandomEventsPlot. Elements of the picaresque frequently show up in {{Cyberpunk}} stories. The plots are often episodic, and there's very little in the vein of a main quest narrative, and as such most picaresque narratives usually have a few stock characters who weave in and weave out.
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!! Examples:

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[[folder: Film ]]

* All of the Film/DollarsTrilogy, especially ''Film/TheGoodTheBadAndTheUgly''.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* ''Literature/{{El Lazarillo de Tormes}}'' is generally considered the first of this genre.
* ''Literature/DonQuixote'' has some elements of this genre and is seen as picareque by non-Spanish speakers for its episodic plot and its NestedStory sequence. Spanish-speakers feel it's more an inversion[[note]]They note that as a hidalgo and aristocrat, Don Quixote/Alonso Quijano is not a typical picaresque character who comes from the low-orders. They also note that Don Quixote has an idealistic view and goal, he's out to help the innocents and defend the weak as a knight should, rather than con and cheat to survive. More or less the quest of Don Quixote is to try and remain idealistic, or insanely so, while the world grows more roguish, more cruel, and sadistic as the plot goes on[[/note]].
* ''Literature/TheAdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn''
* ''Literature/MollFlanders''
* ''Literature/{{Candide}}''
* ''Literature/AConfederacyOfDunces''
* ''Literature/ConfessionsOfFelixKrull''
* The ''Literature/DyingEarth'' series by Creator/JackVance
* ''Literature/BookOfTheNewSun'' by Creator/GeneWolfe
* The ''Literature/GentlemanBastard'' series
* ''[[Literature/{{Simplicissimus}} Simplicius Simplicissimus]]'' (the English title of ''Der Abenteuerliche Simplicissimus''), one of the earliest true novels in the German language.
* ''The Unfortunate Traveller: or, the Life of Jack Wilton'' (1594) by Thomas Nashe.
* ''Literature/CloudAtlas'': [[InUniverse Somni]] describes 'The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish' as such.
* ''Literature/LifeOfPi''
* ''Literature/{{Middlesex}}''
* ''Literature/{{Baudolino}}''
* ''Literature/TheSatyricon''
* [[Literature/FlyByNightSeries ''Fly by Night'' and ''Fly Trap/Twilight Robbery'']] by Creator/FrancesHardinge
* The Rincewind books in the Literature/{{Discworld}} series. Rincewind is basically just a selfish coward who travels around trying to survive the weird stuff happening around him.

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[[folder: Music ]]

* The ''Franchise/CodeGeass'' OST song [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yilokJERZRE Picaresque]] (which could [[http://atashi.wordpress.com/2007/03/25/code-geass-lelouch-of-the-rebellion-insert-song-pikaresuku/ double as an ImageSong for Lelouch]]) is probably named for this genre, considering the kind of world that Lelouch lives in, and his own way of fighting it.
* Music/TheDecemberists' album ''Picaresque''.

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[[folder: Theatre ]]

* ''Theatre/MotherCourageAndHerChildren'' by Creator/BertoltBrecht, set in the UsefulNotes/ThirtyYearsWar, based on ''Landstörtzerin Courasche'', another novel by the author of ''Literature/{{Simplicissimus}}''.

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''VideoGame/Persona5'': High school JapaneseDelinquents become {{Picaresque}} thieves to {{Heel Face Brainwash|ing}} the corrupt, while referencing quite a lot of other Picaresque stories.

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[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''Literature/TheLayOfPaulTwister'' mixes elements of this genre in with HighFantasy and TrappedInAnotherWorld.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has many elements of the picaresque genre: Both Homer and Bart are notorious underperformers who avoid hard work and shirk their duties whenever possible, are generally irresponsible, treat their fellow men shabbily and take refuge to lies when it suits them, all the while being not especially bright. Yet they somehow always manage to avoid all serious consequences of their foolishness or egoism and are likable characters despite their many flaws.
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