Human beings have certain feelings. The person at fault may feel guilty after the incident happens. A feeling of guilt is the recognition of wrong doing, and the wish that the consequences of the action could be changed. In The Scarlet Letter, Red Badge of Courage, and The Crucible, the main characters all have feelings of guilt as a result of what they have done. Life on it's own can also bring such inner feeling from within a person. All people at one point or another feel guilty and have their own way of dealing with it.
In The Scarlet Letter, Dimmesdale feels guilty for his crime of adultery. This character is not only guilty for what he does but also the fact that he does not confess to everyone in town. By not admitting his responsibility, he increases his guilt because Hester must endure all the blame.
Dimmesdale's guilt eats away at him and leads to his doom. On the other hand, the adulteress handles the guilt by telling other people and showing them that she feels guilty. The people forgive her after time but Dimmesdale still feels guilty, and since time has passed can not face the truth. A situation that creates guilt can also illustrate how people deal with difficulty.
Guilt does not only appear in literature, but also in daily life. A famous case is the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Whether he committed the crime or not, O.J. has shown no signs of guilt. This can be interpreted as meaning that he either did not commit the crime, or he did so but is hiding the guilt. If the second situation is true, then he has emotional scars that do not show exactly like Dimmesdale. A more common example takes place in schools.