Brilliance seems imminent in Nathan Proser's every paragraph. Unfortunately one's expectations are never fulfilled. Rather a provocative introduction, which hints at profound aesthetic insight, fades into straightforward literary criticism. Despite this disappointment, Proser's book stands as a valuable example of the possibilities open to a critic sensitive to modern psychology. The characters of Brutus, Macbeth, Othello, Coriolanus, Autony and Cleopatra are delineated expertly in the light of their Self-images. These images are seen as illusions necessary for the heroic quality of the characters, whose tragedies lie in following their chosen illusions to the ends they entail. The perceptive reader Cannot help but be intrigued by the possible application of Proser's notion outside artistic contexts. The less perceptive will find the book adequately written and a contribution to his understanding of Shakespeare, but the audience seems more academic than otherwise.