I don’t think Othello’s love did turn to hate. He felt pain for sure. He murdered his wife, which was the acceptable response to an adulterous wife at the time. Besides that pain probably turned to rage also, but not hate. I think he was relieved at the end that she had been faithful, even though he was horrified that he has killed her. He felt terrible remorse and loss. I think that is why he committed suicide with her in his arms. He should never have believed Iago against his wife, even with the planted proof of the handkerchief. However, I think in those days, husband and wife were not necessarily best friends. Who do you trust? I think Shakespeare is showing us in this play that we need to examine the motives of others whenever they do something. However, Othello just became too emotional and did not think. I am not so sure he was a good leader, because he was a little gullible. He surely knew that Iago envied Cassio. He certainly knew that Roderigo wanted Desdemona.
I think Shakespeare is a pretty reliable source on how life was in his times. He wrote for an audience that was a cross-section of English society, from commoners who paid a penny for standing room to the Queen. It was entertainment. The action and how people behaved had to be true to life for the play to be interesting. He was really good at creating characters, and Othello is one of his best. He behaved as many men of his time would when choosing between the word of a friend or the word of his wife. Women were not held in high esteem for their intellectual capacity or for other “manly” attributes, such as fealty, strength (though many of Shakespeare’s women were strong, since he wrote also for the Queen) or brilliance. It is too bad he was so gullible.
I felt sorry for Othello. He was a good man, but maybe one of his failings is that he judged others by himself. He also must not have had an extremely high opinion of himself if he could so easily believe his wife was unfaithful. I am sure did not expect Iago to be such a traitor over a position. In fact, everyone seems to have believed that Iago was “good and honest”. He was not really either of these things. He was self centered and truly uncaring of how his actions affected others. He simply wanted his way, and he wanted revenge upon Othello. Iago is really quite a nasty character, and everyone suffers from what he does. I was a little surprised that Emelia did not suspect that Iago was up to something terrible when he asked her for the handkerchief. Perhaps it is because she is not noble, but merely a maid, a commoner, so maybe she was expected to not be so sharp as to guess what he had planned. Iago certainly does not love her, but only uses her. But then Shakespeare was rather fond of leaving bodies all over the stage in his tragedies. Maybe his audience expected it. That Iago uses Emelia to get the handkerchief gives him and excuse to kill her.
The intricacy of Shakespeare’s plots makes me wonder how come he never got any of the characters or their various secrets, problems or hidden things mixed up. I guess if he did , he corrected it as soon as anyone in the audience noticed. In this play, Iago is so manipulative and tells so many lies, it is sometimes hard to keep track of his doings.
It is much easier to follow Othello, as he seems not to lie. However, I thought he was a little rough on Desdemona when he questioned her, but I guess he was just so hurt he wanted to hurt back. He certainly spared her no harsh words. I wonder about jealousy. It is never healthy when it is more than a simple twinge. I think it blinded Othello, just the very idea that Desdemona might favor someone else. Is love possible when there is such insecurity? I always think that love really requires trust. But then my definition of love is likely not the same as Shakespeare’s. In fact, I recall in Twelfth Night that one character, the Duke, was of the opinion that women were not capable of true faithful love or friendship, so maybe that has some bearing on how Othello feels.