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Othello told Desdemona many stories from his life, of battles, escapes, being enslaved, and other distressing tales of his youth. Desdemona first loved him out of pity and admiration for all the things he went through. In Act 1, scene 3, Othello says of Desdemona,
"She wish'd she had not heard it, yet she wish'd
That heaven had made her such a man"
He goes on to explain how Desdemona hinted that if Othello taught another man to tell his stories, that that would woo her.
"She lov'd me for the dangers I had pass'd, And I lov'd her that she did pity them."
Desdemona thought Othello was quite a stud for all he went through, and he became her hero.
Desdemona says "I saw Othello's visage in his mind," and that could mean two things--either that she fell in love with him for his mind or that she saw Othello the way he saw himself.
Desdemona also mentions Othello's good reputation as a reason she fell in love with him.
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