"Thou and thine, Hester Prynne, belong to me. My home is where thou art, and where he is"
Georgiy Petrov as Mephistopheles in the opera Faust
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGeorgiy Petrov as Mephistopheles in the opera Faust - Credit: CTMusic2012

The claim Chillingworth here stakes on Hester is reminiscent of Mephistopheles' words to Doctor Faustus in Christopher Marlowe’s (1564-93) eponymous play. Like Chillingworth, Faustus is an eminent scientist who, yearning for yet greater knowledge, makes a pact with the devil. When he asks his attendant demon Mephistopheles about the whereabouts of hell, he receives the reply, “Where we are tortur'd and remain for ever: Hell hath no limits, nor is circumscrib'd In one self-place; but where we are is hell, And where hell is, there must we ever be.” In this literary echo, Chillingworth is at once an agent of Satan and the miserable Faustus who is doomed by his hubristic desire to be greater than God.