The Impact of Expectations Upon Marco Polo and Hernan Cortes Essay

The Impact of Expectations Upon Marco Polo and Hernan Cortes Essay

Length: 2074 words (5.9 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Human history is filled with the names of bold explorers who ventured into the great unknown, only to come out basked in glory as some of the great heroes of their day. Among the grandest are Marco Polo, who provided little known information about the Far East to Europeans, and Hernan Cortes, the great Spanish conquistador who is given credit for the defeat of the Mexica Empire. These two famous explorers are also ideal case studies to analyze the influence of expectations, interests, and of reality on the accounts of the places and people that these men encountered during their voyages.
Exploration is an activity that is held in high esteem because of the mental challenge that comes with willingly surrendering the safety of certainty to venture into unknown land. This act is seen as reflecting the utmost courage. Although this may be true, it is important to realize that more often than not, explorers had certain expectations regarding the places they were traveling to. This fact was strongly reflected in the nature of their accounts. In Marco Polo’s case, his father and uncle had observed “many things worth of admiration… in the progress of their journey,” which took place several years before Marco Polo set off from Venice . Marco Polo surely heard about the great things they had come across. He came in knowing that, despite the risks of such long travel, the things that he would see would be unlike anything that he had ever met before. Perhaps, this was Polo’s motivation. It is never explicitly stated, but it may be that Polo was driven by curiosity. He merely wanted to learn more about the great culture he had heard about.
Cortes’ attitude and that of his men present a stark contrast to Polo’s account, whi...


... middle of paper ...


...ver been capable of.
The accounts of great explorers like Marco Polo and of the various Spanish conquistadores are important not only because they introduced things that the Western World had been unaware of for centuries, but because they show many of their preconceived ideas. Polo’s admiration is overwhelmingly present in his writing, which shows that what he had found clearly exceeded his expectations. On the other hand, the Spanish abhorrence of the Aztec culture shows that they had many preconceived ideas, which were too powerful to be overcome by the reality they found, which was far more amazing than they could have ever imagined.



Works Cited

Polo, Marco, and Rustichello da Pisa. The Travels of Marco Polo. 1926.

Schwartz, Stuart B. Victors and Vanquished: Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Life and Accomplishments of Marco Polo Essay

- One of the world’s greatest explorers was Marco Polo. Known for his travels to China, the book he wrote about his expeditions, The Travels of Marco Polo, and his sharing of Asian spices, marked him as a great influence in the 13th century and beyond. Italy was not tranquil in the 13th century. Famine spread across Europe because of poor harvests. Crops failed because of seasonal floods. In the winter of 1315-1316, the peasants ate the seeds before they could sell them because they were so hungry....   [tags: marco polo, crop failure, 13th century]

Powerful Essays
1471 words (4.2 pages)

The Legend Of The Polo Essays

- Marco Polo began his travels in 1271 with his father and uncle from Venice on a journey east. What was it that made Polo such a known and remembered traveler. Was it because he worked alongside Kublai Klan for 17 years, or because the stories that he brought back after his years of travel. He traveled for 24 years throughout Asia, beginning alongside his father and sometimes traveling alone. Polo had a tough early childhood but the rest of his travels made up for his loss of his mother at an early age....   [tags: Mongol Empire, Marco Polo, Genghis Khan]

Powerful Essays
1417 words (4 pages)

The Incredible Journey of Marco Polo Essay

- Success in a journey can be defined by the combination of gaining experience, the completion of goals, and in specific cases, improving foreign and domestic relationships. By following this definition, it is obvious that Marco Polo had a successful journey. Not only was he able to document his journey to China, but he was also able to spread his experience throughout Europe, thereby immortalizing his name. Marco Polo took the long journey to China with his father and his uncle which changed his life forever....   [tags: History ]

Powerful Essays
854 words (2.4 pages)

The Incredible Life of Marco Polo Essay

- How good of a book could be written in prison. Of course it’s possible, but would it be good enough to become famous and be a huge inspiration to people. Well this is exactly what Marco Polo did. He wrote a book in prison, and it was great enough to become famous. Marco had a very adventurous life and has an amazing story to tell. He did everybody a huge favor and put it pen to paper. He had his substantial times and heavy times, but the substantial times reign over the heavy tremendously. Marco Polo didn’t have both parents around when he was growing up....   [tags: biography, prison, venice italy, ]

Powerful Essays
1123 words (3.2 pages)

Marco Polo- An Exploratory Essay

- Many children, including myself, have once played the game Marco Polo. Although, I have always been curious, who exactly is Marco Polo. My fascination of Marco Polo warped into a fixation of his travels. Marco Polo was born in Venice in the year 1254. His father, Nicolo, and his uncle, Maffeo, were merchants who had seats in the great nobleman council of Venice (Polo IV). According to his records, he had traveled thousands of miles with his father and uncle. Marco, Nicolo and Maffeo (known as the Polos) left Venice, and did not return for twenty-six years....   [tags: World Travel, Literature]

Powerful Essays
1050 words (3 pages)

Essay on Marco Polo and William of Rubruck

- The wide spread writings of Marco Polo and William of Rubruck provide an early account of world travel during the 13th Century. These dual accounts give readers a different perspective of the Mongol’s way of life, their social hierarchy, and their method of commerce. The Mongols, whether beheld as barbaric conquerors or as an Empire for its multiplicity, were transcribed in the writings of Polo and Rubruck. Details are important to establish a sense of place and their surrounding peoples as well as a personal view of foreign people....   [tags: early accounts of world travelinf]

Powerful Essays
1302 words (3.7 pages)

The Marco Polo Bridge Incident Essay

- Vocabulary Axis Expansion 1. The Marco Polo Bridge Incident marked the beginning of further Japanese expansion in China. In the July of 1937, the Japanese conducted training without a notice, and the startled Chinese and the Japanese exchanged fire. One Japanese soldier from the small squabble was missing, and the Japanese accused the Chinese of taking him captive, demanding a full search of the area. The Chinese denied it, offering one soldier to accompany their thorough search of the area. Although this incident could have died down, but tensions ran high....   [tags: World War II, Battle of Midway]

Powerful Essays
1503 words (4.3 pages)

Biography of Marco Polo Essay

- ... He was then the governor of a Chinese city, an official of the Privy Council, and a tax inspector. He inquired great knowledge on his trip. He was astonished by their economy and form of currency. The group of men stayed in China for seventeen years before deciding to come home. Khan only allowed the men to leave if they brought a Mongol princess back home with them. She was to marry a Persian prince. They agreed. Marco, Marco’s father, and Marco’s uncle travelled home by sea. They travelled on a caravan filled with hundreds of people, although many died due to storms and disease....   [tags: trip, exploration, merchants, father]

Powerful Essays
781 words (2.2 pages)

marco polo Essay

- Marco Polo Marco Polo was born in c.1254 in Venice. He was a Venetian explorer and merchant whose account of his travels in Asia was the primary source for the European image of the Far East until the late 19th century. Marco’s father, Niccolo, and his uncle Maffeo had traveled to China in 1260 - 1269 as merchants. Despite Marco’s enduring fame very little was known about the personal life of Marco Polo. It is known that he was born into a leading Venetian family of merchants. He also lived during a propitious time in world history, when the height of Venice’s as a city-state coincided with the greatest extent of Mongol conquest of Asia....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Powerful Essays
1030 words (2.9 pages)

Marco Polo Essay

- Marco Polo is one of the most well-known heroic travelers and traders around the world. In my paper I will discuss with you Marco Polo's life, his travels, and his visit to China to see the great Khan. Marco Polo was born in c.1254 in Venice. He was a Venetian explorer and merchant whose account of his travels in Asia was the primary source for the European image of the Far East until the late 19th century. Marco's father, Niccolù, and his uncle Maffeo had traveled to China (1260-69) as merchants....   [tags: Biographies Biographical Essays]

Free Essays
1846 words (5.3 pages)