When I am sorry and upset about the fate of Desdemona, I am not sorry this fiction has it that an innocent and good-hearted girl suffers a cruel fate. One might be sorry about that, deploying that there fictions with such unhappy and unjust outcomes. But this is not what at least many of us are sorry about; we are glad that Shakespeare’s fiction has it this way, and not the way that are written version with a happy ending would have it. Part of the inner tension that we experience on watching this play derives from the fact that we have a desire-like imagining that Desdemona flourish, combined with a (genuine) desire that the play be one which will ensure that that desire-like imagining is unsatisfied.
Gregory Currie, “Desire and Imagination” in Conceivability and Possibility, Gendler and Hawthorne.