Self-Revelation, The Anatomy of Story, p. 301–302
By going through the crucible of battle, the hero usually undergoes change. For the first time, he learns who he really is. He tears aside the facade he has lived behind and sees, in a shocking way, his true self. Facing the truth about himself either destroys him — as in Oedipus the King, Vertingo, and The Conversation — or makes him stronger.
If the self-revelation is moral as well as psychological, the hero also learns the proper way to act toward others. A great self-revelation should be sudden, for better dramatic effect; shattering for the hero, wheter self-revelation is positive or negative; and new — it must be something the hero did not know about himself until that moment.
Much of the quality of your story is based on the quality of the self-revelation. Everything leads to this point. You must make it work. There are two pitfalls to making it work that you should be aware of:
Make sure that what the hero learns about himself is truly meaningful, not just fine-sounding words or platitudes about life.
Don’t have the hero state directly to the audience what he has learned. That is a mark of bad writing. (Chapter 10, “Scene Construction and Symphonic Dialogue”, explains how to use dialogue to express the self-revelation without preaching)
PLOT TECHNIQUE: DOUBLE REVERSAL
You may want to use the technique of the double reversal at the self-revelation step. In this technique, you give a self-revelation to the opponent as well as to the hero. Each learns from the other, and the audience sees two insights about how to act and live in the world instead of one.
Here’s how you create a double reversal:
Give both the hero and the main opponent a weakness and a need.
Make the opponent human. That means, among other things, that he must be capable of learning and changing.
During or just after the battle, give the opponent as well as the hero a self-revelation.
Connect the two self-revelations. The hero should learn something from the opponent, and the opponent should learn something from the hero.
Your moral vision as the author is the best of what both characters learn.