Blame may be something one person does to another, but it takes a consciousness of wrong doing to feel guilty. And Hester feels plenty guilty. Also guilty? Dimmesdale. The one person in this messy triangle who seems to escape the feeling of guilt is Chillingworth—but he gets plenty of blame. By the end of The Scarlet Letter, both Hester and Dimmesdale agree that Chillingworth is the real villain in this situation. And the only way to relieve your guilt? To confess. We're not positive, but we think that, when Chillingworth leaves his fortune to Pearl, he's doing just that: guilty as charged.
The Puritan use of public shaming and blame-placing backfires, pushing Hester and Dimmesdale to the margins of their community and making them contemplate even worse actions.
Guilt proves to be an effective emotion, because it pushes Hester into reforming herself and eventually being forgiven and respected by her community.