What you are asking is called characterization. All great stories have great character development. In light of this, the study of characters can yield insights. With this stated, it is important to note there are no standard ways in which to go about studying characters. In view of this, let me suggest a few ways:
- One of the best ways to study a character is to examine other characters and use the method of comparison. Often times there is a foil to the main character.
- Another way to study a character is to examine him or her in view of the immediate culture and history. Ask questions like whether a character goes against the grain of the culture. This can yield great insights. For example, Achilles' lust for glory and his bravery were the very things Greek warriors loved.
- Another technique to study character is to look for the narrator's view. In other words, does the narrarator approve of the main character?
These simple steps can offer some valuable insights.