Painter Of The Night: An accomplice, a pawn or an innocent?

This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhin.com/en/comic/painter 

But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes.

As you can guess, this analysis will focus on Yoon Seung-Won, the protagonist’s younger brother. We don’t know much about him as he only appears in two chapters (37 and 44) hence it is quite difficult to discern this character. Since Yoon Seungho’s father is responsible for our seme’s tragic and painful past, we have to question the role played by the brother. Does he know that his father used Yoon Seungho as a scapegoat in order to escape the purge? Does he know what the father really wants? Or is he using his father’s name for his own interest? That’s why I will try to define his personality and judge his actions. Is he an accomplice of the father or is he just used by the latter? He could also be innocent.

Just like Jung In-Hun, Seung-Won’s existence is introduced indirectly with a letter.

In the chapter 36, the valet Kim has been entrusted a letter written by father Yoon, but the younger master requested a quick reply. We shouldn’t forget that the introduction of the poem in the chapter 4 served to reveal the duplicity of the teacher as we had two different opinions about the value of the poem. Here, the purpose is different as we have no idea about the content. However, this little scene illustrates the relationship between Yoon Seungho and his younger brother. First, it is clear that the latter has always attempted to get close to Yoon Seungho through letters, as the assistant Kim mentions “this one”. This means that the brother must have sent other messages before, which is confirmed later in chapter 37. However, in this scene, the butler says that this letter comes from father Yoon indicating that Seung-Won used his father’s name. Furthermore, this time there is a huge difference, because the domestic Kim has been requested to deliver the letter personally and to ask for an answer. This gesture outlines that Seung-Won knows the importance of the loyal valet Kim in Seungho’s life. He hopes that through the valet’s words and influence, his request can be fulfilled.

Then the reader senses a certain urgency behind Seung-Won’s action. It was, as though the noble was desperate to get something from his notorious brother. Besides, the beholder can also feel that the brother is trying to ignore Seungho’s past, to do, as if nothing bad had happened before, because the letter as such symbolizes a request and not an apology or a heartfelt message. We can conclude that the brother shows a lack of sensitivity and a certain egoism in his attitude. He is definitely selfish, because he has been “pestering” Yoon Seungho without showing empathy to his past. There are no comforting words coming from the valet’s mouth. One might argue that the brother has no idea about the father’s betrayal. However, we can refute this objection with the following point: the incident with the top-knot and the abandonment from the father. Since it has become a famous topic as rumor, it is impossible that Seung-Won has been left in the dark. He knows that his father rejected Seungho and no longer considered him as his son. Furthermore, the fact that he and his father had to leave the family mansion, the younger master could only realize the father’s gesture: he was a coward running away from his responsibility. Who would leave the main mansion behind because of the eldest son? Actually, the most natural thing would have been the other way: the father should have sent the son away due to his sodomy, yet it was the eldest master with his family who moved to the countryside. In other words, Seung-Won is well aware of the meaning of his father’s actions, even if he doesn’t know the whole truth. Therefore Seung-Won can’t be described as innocent because he never sided with his brother but remained by his father’s side.

After receiving the message from Kim, Seungho burns the letter without even opening it. Notice that he didn’t even destroy it in his room by attempting to maintain a certain dignity and respectability. No, he burnt it in the open, right in front of the servants, among the leaves. This attitude sends many signals. First, it is demonstrating that he has an idea about the content of the letter. The “request” didn’t go unnoticed, Seungho could discern the younger brother’s selfishness. Then it displays that the noble feels no emotional attachment to his “family member”. His gesture outlines too that he has no ties with Seung-Won. For him, they don’t exist or strictly speaking, they don’t belong to the same family. I would go far as to say that he considers his brother and father as garbage. That’s why he lets the message burn among the fallen leaves. As you can see, in just two pictures, I was able to describe the dynamic between Seungho and his brother and even display a little Seung-Won’s personality.

chapter 36

Since Seungho ignored his brother like in the past and Seung-Won was quite desperate to get an answer, his unannounced visit is no surprise. In fact, this reinforces the impression that Seung-Won is quite under pressure himself and needs his brother’s help no matter what, which signifies that Seungho has the upper hand. Observe that it is already late, but the younger master doesn’t care at all, reinforcing the bad impression we had before: quite rude and self-centered.

The visit means that Seung-Won needed to call his elder brother personally in order to pressure the latter so that the powerful noble would rekindle his relationship with him and the father. What caught my attention is that Seung-Won only paid his brother a visit the moment he had no other option left. It looks like he never visited him before, he thought that letters would be enough to amend their broken relationship. This indicates that Seung-Won has no idea about the real impact on the father’s abandonment in Seungho’s past. He is clueless when it comes to his brother’s suffering. Maybe he thinks that since Seungho has been left at the main mansion, his elder brother has been enjoying a comfortable position so he has been compensated for the humiliation suffered and the abandonment. He may consider it as a compensation for Seungho’s pain. This would explain why he doesn’t feel the need to comfort his brother. But this is just a speculation from my part.

However, this raises the question: does the younger brother really know what happened back then? He knows that Seungho became the scapegoat and was sacrificed in order to save the family as it is revealed during their conversation. Here, Seungho was reminding his brother that his father was the one who condemned him for sodomy, hence he was left behind. If you pay attention the brother’s reaction, you’ll notice his embarrassment and awkwardness. The man is sweating because he doesn’t want to be reminded of the past.

Moreover, he is avoiding his brother’s sharp gaze displaying his guilty conscience. That’s why I come to the conclusion that the brother knew about the intention behind his father’s action and didn’t stop him. From my perspective, the father must have explained his son what he was about to do. He would create a scandal with the eldest son and cut his topknot because of his supposed “homosexuality” in order to divert the king’s attention and save their family. But my belief is that Seungho had to suffer more than the humiliation and rejection. He was raped which the brother doesn’t know. In reality, the father sold his eldest son in order to save his own skin and explained his cowardice to Seung-Won as a normal sacrifice. I have the impression that Seung-Won has been left in the dark in certain aspects which is somehow confirmed in the last episode. Here, Seung-Won has no idea what the elder brother sent to his father. He was happy, when he received a letter handed over by Kim

chapter 36

This smile brings to light naivety and innocence. He has no idea about the content of the paper which is in reality the ruined painting of Seungho having a threesome. More striking is that the father never let the younger brother see the content of the paper. However, he blames the brother, when the father doesn’t leave his room in order to bid farewell.

chapter 44

Seungho is the cause for the father’s neglect which shows that he is really clueless why the brother would resent so much the father. The younger son acts as if Seungho is to blame for the father’s fury. There is definitely a lack of sensitivity and a certain naivety exuding from the younger master. But he is not so innocent either compared to Baek Na-Kyum. He is a liar , because the illness is just an excuse. He is quite daring to ask his brother to pay a visit to their father. He knows the true signification of this request, which is the reason why Seungho laughs it off and refuses. The brother is willing to act as a messenger for the father, since in reality, Seungho’s support would help him as well. He expects from the powerful noble so much and has never done anything for him in return.

This selfishness and rudeness is visible when he tried to enter Seungho’s bedchamber. He used his position as lord to mistreat Kim by threatening him and accusing him to lie, to ignore his words,

chapter 36

only Baek Na-Kyum’s voice was able to stop him which caught him by surprise.

That’s why at the end, I judge Seung-Won as an accomplice and pawn at the same time. He is no innocent in Seungho’s suffering, as he never expressed any comforting words during their meeting, he only wants the past to be swayed under the carpet and ensures that his father can be able to return to the main domain. He was an accomplice in the father’s request, because he knew that he would get some benefit himself. However, he is also a pawn as he has no real idea how far his father is willing to use him for his own interest. The father didn’t tell everything to Seung-Won. All the actions Seung-Won did (the letters, the visit) manifest a certain simplicity. He can’t really deceive people, especially his brother with his lies. His smile at the end of the chapter 36 reveals a naivety and innocence therefore I judge Seung-Won as someone who can be easily manipulated, especially by double-faced ones like Jung In-Hun. Their ways will cross and I can imagine that he will become the teacher’s next target and victim. The young man is not intelligent and cunning enough to perceive people’s lies and manipulation, maybe due to his selfishness. He feels entitled due to his social status and can use his position to get what he wants.

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2 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: An accomplice, a pawn or an innocent?

  1. I find the time of his visit a bit peculiar.
    He visits at night because, I assume, he doesn’t want to be recognized as Seung-Won in case he is kicked out to save face but he wears fancy clothes so he wants to be recognized as a noble.
    He comes at a time when his sodomite brother is most likely to have a noble in for an intercourse but is surprised when he hears the Seungho’s partner voice (since he stops before he opens the door I think he must have thought that the plea not to open the door was from another noble).
    It seems like he’s portrayed as someone who is incapable of planning any long-term strategies because he only plans the goal but not the possible risks on his way to get to it. I thinks his lack of empathy towards his brother proceeds partly from this as well as he doesn’t consider his brother’s feelings about the past relevant to his (or their farther’s) goals in the present.

    Liked by 1 person

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