Adrasto was the son of Talau and Eurynome, daughter of Iphitus, or the son of Talau and Lysimachus, daughter of Abas, son of Melampo, Talau was one of the three kings of Argos.
During a dispute between the most powerful houses of Argos, Talau was killed by Amphiarau, and Adrasto was driven out, fled, and went to Polybus, king of Sicion. When Polybus died without heirs, Adrasto succeeded him on the throne.
According to Pseudo-Apolodorus, Adrasto married Amphitheia, daughter of Proace, another son of Talau and Lysimachus, and had three daughters, Argia, Dipile, Egialeia, and two sons, Egialeus and Cyanippus. After that, Adrasto reconciled with Amphitheus, gave him his sister Erifila in marriage, and returned to the kingdom of Argos.
The oracle of Apollo or a seer had told Adrastus that he should marry his daughters to a boar and a lion; when Adrastus saw Tideus, son of Aeneus, and Polyneices, son of Oedipus, respectively dressed in a boar's skin and a lion's skin, (or wearing on their shields designs of a boar and a lion), exiled from their kingdoms, he interpreted the oracle and married Argia, the eldest, to Polyneus and Dipile to Tideus.
During this time it happened that Tideus of Chalidon and Polynices of Thebes, both fugitives from their countries, met near the palace of Argos and, after an exchange of words, began to fight.
Adrastus ordered them apart and immediately recognized them as the men whom an oracle had predicted would be the future husbands of his daughters, for one was wearing the skin of a boar and the other that of a lion, just as the oracle had predicted.
So Adrastus gave in marriage his daughters Dipile and Argea to Tideus and Polynices respectively, and at the same time promised to help them return to their land.
Adrasto prepared for war against Thebes, even though Amphiarchus predicted that all who did so would perish, with the exception of Adrasto.
Thus the Seven against Thebes were organized, a group in which Adrasto was aided by Polynices, Tideus, Amphipheus, Capaneus, Hypomedon, and Parthenopeus. The war ended just as Amphipheus had predicted, and Adrasto was only saved due to the swiftness of his horse Arian, a gift from Heracles.
Creon of Thebes refused to give the bodies of the six heroes who fell in the battle, and Adrasto went to Athens to beg the Athenians for help. Theseus was persuaded to go on an expedition against Thebes. He took the city and delivered the bodies to be buried.
Ten years later, Adrasto convinced the seven sons of the heroes who died in the battle against Thebes to make another attack on that city. He declared that the gods had approved his initiative and promised victory.
Thebes was taken and totally destroyed, after a large part of its inhabitants fled the city on the advice of Tyrethias. The only one to die in this battle, called of the Epigonians, was Egialeus, his son.
After building a temple to Nemesis in the vicinity of Thebes, he returned home. But due to the weight of age and the death of his son, he died in Mégara and was buried there.