I wasn't entirely sure how to phrase the title, so if a better way to put it occurs to anyone, please feel free to edit it.
Here's the situation: the goal of a novel is to get the main character - called for simplicity Steve - to make a stand for what's right. Right before the climax, someone tells him (with their dying breath) to take a stand. Steve then does so.
Edit for clarity: Steve does not just stand up. I have not included the character development or internal conflict because they are not central to this question. However, they are there. I am aware that simply standing up would leave the reader feeling unsatisfied, if that is all that happened.
I am having trouble with the climax. Everything seems to indicate that the climax is the point at which Steve stands - I mean, that's the goal of the whole novel. The problem is that in this case, standing involves fighting back a small army. Normally this wouldn't be a problem. In fact, it would usually make for a good climax.
The problem is that there is no longer anything for Steve to lose. The main question the reader has been asking himself throughout the novel is, 'will Steve make a stand?' Once he does, the conflict is resolved, the questions are answered, and it's all over. The act of symbolically standing up is the climax. (Steve dying isn't a loss. In fact, it is expected. Even if he dies, he still made a stand.)
The act of symbolically standing up does not, however, leave the reader with a very satisfied feeling. I've been building up to this confrontation (the enemy pounding on the door in the background during the death scene), and simply skipping the battle seems like I'm cheating the reader out of what he's been anticipating.
Question: Am I wrong in the assumption that the reader will feel cheated? Or will ending the novel with Steve turning epic-ly to face the hordes, resolve in his heart, be satisfying?