In Act 4, Scene 13, Cleopatra fakes her death to spite Antony, who is unaware that this death has not actually taken place. He reacts accordingly in Act 4, Scene 14, in an instance of dramatic irony:
ANTONY: I will o’ertake thee, Cleopatra, and
Weep for my pardon. So it must be, for now
All length is torture. Since the torch is out,
Lie down and stray no farther. Now all labor
Mars what it does; yea, very force entangles
Itself with strength. Seal, then, and all is done.—
Eros!—I come, my queen.—Eros!—Stay for me.
Where souls do couch on flowers, we’ll hand in hand,
And with our sprightly port make the ghosts gaze.
Dido and her Aeneas shall want troops,
And all the haunt be ours.
In the above passage, Antony's emotional state pivots from his earlier position of anger against Cleopatra to one of mourning. Though he himself wished her dead in Act 4, Scene 12, the brutal reality of Cleopatra's death elicits quite a different reaction from Antony. The purpose of this dramatic irony is twofold: first, it increases suspense for the audience, as they hope Antony's false perception will be remedied. Second, the dramatic irony of this scene provides insight into Antony's character, shedding light on the hollowness of his earlier wish for Cleopatra to die. In a dramatic turn of events, he wishes for her "pardon," claiming penitence instead of exercising judgement.