This is where you can read the manhwa. https://www.lezhinus.com/en/comic/painter But be aware that this manhwa is a mature Yaoi, which means, it is about homosexuality with explicit scenes. If you want to read more essays, here is the link to the table of contents: https://bebebisous33analyses.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/table-of-contents-painter-of-the-night/This is where you can read the manhwa.
Dreams play a huge role in people’s life since they serve as motivation and goal in order to become happy like for example The American dream. As you can observe, dreams have a strong connection to happiness, yet simultaneously to illusion too. When we sleep, dreams appear in our mind revealing our unconscious. Dreams allows us to escape from reality, because in dreams, there are no rule and no limit. This explains why dream has for synonyms goal and illusion.
In other words, dreams can become a source of beatitude, especially when it becomes a reality. On the other hands, they can be a source of misery, when the person realizes that everything was just an phantasm, and it can never turn into a reality, because in real world there exists limits and rules. Therefore it’s important in order to achieve a dream and as such to become happy to take into consideration facts and limits. I had already analyzed Baek Na-Kyum’s dreams, the daydream in the chapter 2 and the wet dream in the chapter 6, in another essay. However both were influenced by the perception he had about Yoon Seungho and his attraction for that noble. In the analysis, I had pointed out that they reveal his repressed sexual desires. Nonetheless, the manhwaworms are well aware that Baek Na-Kyum felt that the lord was attracted to him, and he sensed the lord’s desires. Interesting is that these “illusions” became a reality, since the master became the painter’s sex partner and “husband”. Striking is that our artist is far from happy because his dream was to become the teacher’s bride.
- Baek Na-Kyum
The existence of these contradicting visions reflects the huge impact the coercive persuasion had on the low-born. Since the latter was no longer allowed to be attracted by men, he projected all his feelings on the scholar, as the latter was the only one Baek Na-Kyum was authorized to admire. This idea was even encouraged by his noona Heena. Thereby he was able not to lose his true self completely. That’s why the commoner could only dream of the teacher as a pure and untainted love which would never be fulfilled. (chapter 19) In other words, being the scholar’s lover could only be a chimera. So the wet dreams came true, because real facts played a role: the mutual attraction between Yoon Seungho and Baek Na-Kyum, their sexual orientation as the lord never condemned sodomy per se, while his dreams with Jung In-Hun was just a chimera, because they had nothing in common. The scholar looked down on the painter initially, but his homosexuality and his success as anonyme author of erotic paintings reinforced his jealousy and resent. The low-born embodied everything the teacher hated hence he could never fall in love with the artist.
2. Jung In-Hun
In fact, the artist represented something Jung In-Hun wished to have himself: get recognition and fame among the high nobility. Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho wasn’t the only buyer of these erotic publications, even Min showed an interest indicating the painter’s popularity. Hence the teacher had to destroy Baek Na-Kyum, because he saw in him a hindrance to realize his own dream. This is visible in episode 10, when the learned sire incites the low-born to stop painting. In the chapter 19, Jung In-Hun expresses his dream. He would like to become rich and powerful like Yoon Seungho, the latter serves as example. Since he considers himself as morally upright and more educated, he has the impression that his dream will come true soon. He received such a good offer from the famous hell-raiser after all, even without working hard and using his knowledge.
Notice that the low aristocrat even admitted to the powerful protagonist that he was waiting for the right time (chapter 6). Nonetheless, we know that in order to live The American dream, efforts, skills and work are necessary. This illustrates that Jung In-Hun’s dream belongs to the second category, an illusion. The antagonist doesn’t take into consideration his own skills, his intelligence and his life conditions. He has no real talents (see his poor poetry skills) and his knowledge is quite shallow, as he could only become a teacher for commoners. Moreover, he’s quite lazy which was noticed by the lord. Even as a teacher, he didn’t put any effort, it was just a diversion after all. He justified his own laziness and lack of conscience that the commoners didn’t need to become literate, as they were destined to work on the fields.
Interesting is that Jung In-Hun’s vision about his future is strongly associated to fate. He has already envisaged that he’s destined to have a great career, to achieve greatness. That’s the reason why he is lazy in the end. The scholar’s entitlement is the foundation of his chimera. This explicates why he saw the artist as a threat to his own vision, for the rise of a low-born would contradict his fancy and his worldview. Through the commoner, he detected that his vision of a big career could be an illusion. Yet instead of changing his ways and his thinking, he chose to destroy the painter’s career, rather than change his own goal in life. Let’s face it: the teacher could have achieved greatness by becoming a good and exemplary teacher so that the commoners would have come to admire him. This kind of fame could have reached the ears of an influential official. But the scholar never considered it as an option, because he disdains the commoners. As he feels superior to them due to his title, he didn’t want to rely on them for his career. For the low noble, it’s important that on the surface he achieves greatness on his own. What I mean with it is that he doesn’t want to share his fame and admiration. So on the one hand he imagined that he needed the help of an influential noble, on the other side he envisaged that once he got a high position in the government, he would be able to cut ties with Yoon Seungho so that only his name would get connected to that powerful government post. Once in position, Jung In-Hun could threaten his sponsor in case the latter refused to follow his request. He thinks so highly of himself that he doesn’t realize his own shortcomings. He’s not intelligent and cunning enough to perceive the protagonist’s raillery and empty promises (chapter 7). He never anticipated that the lord would do something like that, while he had already imagined that his promise to support the lord would be just an empty promise. As a conclusion, fate and entitlement explicate why the teacher didn’t get famous in the past and why he is destined to fail.
He’s not trying to become happy in reality, his true goal is to obtain admiration, power and wealth. But with his disposition, he can never get it as he’s too weary and too self-centered. Furthermore, he’s overestimating his own abilities. His ream is just an illusion that will get destroyed the moment he lives at the capital. We could say, the low noble has been living in a soap bubble that’s about to explode. Consequently, the painting of the teacher’s inauguration will be a constant reminder of Jung In-Hun’s chimera and false hope.
3. Lee Jihwa
Now if we compare Jung In-Hun’s vision with the one from Lee Jihwa, we can sense some similarities. Just like the scholar, the red-haired noble waited for Yoon Seungho’s love, hoping that with time the latter would fall in love with him. The cheerful aristocrat dressed up and smiled in order to impress him. He was also his only sex partner, hence the young noble thought that Yoon Seungho would realize that he was privileged because of his affection. Yet at no moment Jihwa put a real effort to understand the noble. He prefers installing spies to get updated. This explains why Jihwa even cursed his sex partner after being humiliated.
This expression « filthy libertine » and Jihwa’s facial mine indicate that his love for the main lead is too superficial. He never got to know what Seungho wished and needed, as he relied on rumors and observations through others. So for the red-haired lord, time, his special position as a long friend and his title were the reasons why Jihwa never worked hard to win Seungho’s heart. In other words, Jihwa’s dream was just a fantasy just like with the scholar. The only difference is that since the main character belongs to Joseon nobility, Jihwa thought that he and his friend had something in common, too stupid to realize that Seungho resented aristocrats and used sodomy to get revenge on them. His true purpose was to humiliate them.
Just because Jihwa knew about the protagonist’s past (chapter 36), he had the impression that he understood him. He imagined, his childhood friend would only hate and resent his own family due the father’s abandonment and betrayal. He wasn’t sharp enough to perceive that Yoon Seungho saw beyond his family’s wrongdoings. Besides, he never got to know what truly happened to his childhood friend, as he was informed through Kim. For him, nobility was the real cause of his own suffering. First he got betrayed by his own family, sold as a concubine to the king, and when one of the aristocrats betrayed his family for his own benefit, the main lead’s father chose to backstab his own son and blame him for everything. Consequently, in Seungho’s eyes, nobility is a synonym for treachery, cowardice and selfishness. What Jihwa judged as common denominator represented in reality the barrier between him and his childhood friend. Yoon Seungho could never love someone from the aristocracy, though the main character has no idea about it.
This explains Jihwa’s delusion. He was too self-centered and too shallow to grasp the impossibility of his dream. Besides his passivity proves that his love for the main lead was never his true goal in life. He wasn’t motivated enough to work hard so that he could obtain the protagonist’s heart. Now the manhwaphiles are able to recognize the parallels with Jung In-Hun’s dream and illusion. Jihwa believes that if he gets rid of his rival, he will still be capable to turn his dream into a reality. He is acting exactly like the scholar, but we know that Jung In-Hun’s actions didn’t work out like he hoped. Seungho made the effort to discover the painter’s identity and to force him to paint again. The artist’s fame didn’t disappear just, because Baek Na-Kyum stopped painting. It’s the same for the lord’s feelings for the low-born. Hence there’s no doubt that Jihwa’s plan is doomed to failure. And this interpretation was confirmed in season 2. In chapter 61, the childhood friend admitted that he was responsible for his failure.
Yoon Seungho isn’t just a filthy sodomite, he’s strong and smart. He’ll retaliate against his childhood friend, and the former will judge Jihwa’s actions as a confirmation that nobles shouldn’t be trusted. This will bring the powerful noble closer to the low-born. I’m actually expecting that the attempted assassination will force the lord to open up and drop completely his mask in front of the artist.
4. Yoon Seungho
Now, we’ve already analyzed Baek Na-Kyum, Jung In-Hun and Jihwa’s dreams. What about Yoon Seungho? Did he have one? In my opinion, not really in the beginning because he was living like a zombie trying to bypass time. He just used his sex sessions to humiliate the nobles but this wasn’t a dream as such, just an occupation. For me, the main lead started dreaming the moment he discovered the erotic publications and the sudden end of these. Since Baek Na-Kyum stopped painting and Seungho was already addicted to his drawings, he made sure to get the painter and have him painted for him. Such a simple goal and yet with deep consequences.
From that moment, the master’s goal shifted little by little. At some point, he intended to taste the low-born. All these dreams or goals share the same aspect: they’re all short-term, he is not fancying something big in the distanced future, unlike his fellows Jihwa and Jung In-Hun. The explication is simple: he’s a disillusioned man, he thinks that he knows everything about life. In other words, he is not dreaming big due to his bad experiences. But he’s not prepared for the huge revelation that awaits him, when he opens the door of Baek Na-Kyum’s study. He anticipates that his short-term goal might come true, while in reality this moment foreshadows a huge change in Seungho’s mindset. He’ll start dreaming of getting love and getting married.
The real turning point in Seungho’s life is the wedding night. What the painter expressed resonated in the lord. (“I’m so happy, my heart is so full”) Although the latter said nothing, he felt the same hence he kissed the painter’s eyes so tenderly. Consequently this night symbolizes the moment where the main lead realized that love did exist and he could obtain happiness too. Since he was well aware that the love confession was addressed to the intellectual, he decided to work hard for his own dream and happiness.
His dream was to marry the uke and get his love, yet this was just a decision of his heart. This signifies that his “marriage” was not consciously done. In his unconscious, he imagined that by making the painter his official partner, he would get the artist’s heart and love. He had to struggle a lot and work hard to achieve this. Yet his goal is not reached, since he hasn’t gained Baek Na-Kyum’s love yet. So his happiness isn’t complete, which the manhwaworms could sense in the chapter 76. They are both not entirely open to each other. In chapter 45, the lord’s joy was not total, for he was not entirely satisfied. He smoked, he complained and talked a lot indicating a certain nervousness and insecurity. Their sexual encounters didn’t feeel like the one during the Wedding night. And there’s a reason for that. It was a chimera. Both protagonists were not honest to themselves.
Nevertheless imagine the effect Baek Na-Kyum’s words had on the lord, when he said “I like-My lord”. He must have felt that he got closer to his goal. He was definitely surprised but it moved him that’s why he ejaculates soon after.
What distinguishes the main character to the other nobles is that he doesn’t believe in fate or even thinks that time will come to help him. He knows that effort and work are the conditions in order to obtain happiness. That’s why the protagonist never admitted defeat, even when he was too exhausted and desperate. Even when he envisioned that the painter had betrayed him, he refused to drop his dream. The noble made the decision to never let him go. In my first version, I had expressed the idea that Yoon Seungho still had to learn that his own happiness was also dependent on his partner’s beatitude and he needed to discover what Baek Na-Kyum really wanted in the past before the latter met the fake and jealous teacher: education and climbing the social ladder through hard work thanks to his talented hands. And this observation was confirmed, for the noble realized after the abduction that he needed to treat his lover much better. He had to show true respect to the painter and not just give him food and a refuge. The abduction made him recognize his own hypocrisy. But he is still unaware of the painter’s dream and desires, that’s why he still has to improve his personality. The fact that Baek Na-Kyum wanted to learn how to read and write reveals his desire to change his social situation.
Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho has never discovered the true reason why the painter vowed not to paint any longer. He knows now that the scholar is responsible (chapter 75), but he has no idea what the learned sir did to the artist. I’m waiting for that moment, when the master realizes what happened to his lover. He’ll comprehend Jung In-Hun’s real intentions behind the coercive persuasion. The lord will support the painter in his career to humiliate the low noble, but also get revenge for his “wife”‘s sake.
I have the feeling that sex will become a weapon, and the scholar will use it against the two protagonists. Let’s not forget that the learned sir is lazy and not smart, hence in his eyes, his goal will justify the means. Once the painter is no longer attached to the scholar, the latter can in the best case use Heena noona and send her to Yoon Seungwon. Yet, at some point, he will be on his own. Consequently, I am expecting that the scholar sells his body in exchange for favors.
“The mere sight of old, bearded men makes me shudder” (chapter 44)
Remember the warning Yoon Seungho expressed in front of the low-noble, this will come true, and the irony will be that the learned sir becomes the image he has always abhorred: a prostitute. By achieving his dream (a high position), he is forced to give up on all his principles. could be that the main lead is the one who used this for revenge.
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