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.
In my first part, I had briefly described, how the manhwa Painter Of The Night has similarities with the Russian novel “Crime and punishment”. The anti-hero Dorion Raskolnikov, a poor student, is plagued with a guilty conscience after committing two murders. One might think that the student killed the pawnbroker due to his terrible financial situation, yet in reality it is different. Since the protagonist considered himself superior to others, developed the idea of superior humans, who were not bound to society norms and rules. Consequently, he justified his crime as an utilitarian act. However, during the assassination, he was forced to kill the pawnbroker’s sister, as she witnessed his misdeed, already revealing that he was no god. Moreover, after committing the crime with a certain brutality, he started feeling guilty, reminding him more and more of his true condition. He was just a human after all, like all the others. The burden of remorse became so heavy that he felt the need to confess. First, he admitted his crime to Sonya, a prostitute, and finally to the authorities.
Like I mentioned in the first part, Jihwa reminds me a little of Dorion Raskolnikov because of his terrible guilty conscience. Yet, there is a huge difference between them. Dorion Raskolnikov is a nihilist and he is totally alienated from society, which is not the case for Jihwa. The latter trusts people, especially his fellows from nobility. That’s why he talks to his friend and Min about his special relationship with his childhood friend. His immense trust is palpable, when he takes their words as face-value (chapter 37). That’s why despite their similar situation, the burden of a crime, Jihwa’s torment is different in reality. He is not planning a murder because he considers himself superior to others or due to his philosophy. In fact, he feels remorse and suffers anxieties, even before the murder has taken place. And this reveals his purity in a certain sense. His conscious knew very well the gravity of the crime but his heart, blinded by his selfish desires and his trauma, chose to ignore it. Therefore Rodion’s course diverges so much from Jihwa’s path. While the former discovers his true condition and reconnects with his humanity, the red-haired noble will lose his innocence, chased away from Garden of Eden, and the readers will witness his transformation into an adult, into a real man.
It all started with a simple sentence. Although Jihwa had the impression, it was just a suggestion, in fact it was an order, as lord Min was using the imperative tense. And this is no coincidence. The snake had to deceive the naive noble by letting him think that he was making a choice. In order to seduce to commit a sin, Black Heart tried to diminish the gravity of the wrongdoing with the idiom “Just”. First, it creates the illusion that this is an easy solution to his difficult situation. Secondly “Just” is so short and yet so deceptive, because it hides the horror of reality. The most interesting part is that during that meeting, the second lead acts like a child. He doesn’t speak with the personal pronoun “I” but “we” showing that he is not differentiating himself from the others. It was, as if he considered Min and the others as his parents and had not his own identity. He is not able to make the decision on his own. This scene shows his lack of maturity. Sure, he questions Min’s words with this interrogation. Realizing that his first attempt was not successful, Black Heart knows how to trigger the naive man by turning Yoon Seungho into a victim of a low-born, a seducer bewitching his friend.That way, Min gives the lord a justification, he will do it as an utilitarian act and save his friend from the greedy commoner, while in reality Black Heart is well aware that jealousy is actually the real reason for the assassination. And here, I see another similarity with Dorion’s justification. The latter used his nihilistic philosophy for the murder, while in truth, it was a gesture of selfishness and arrogance, since he believed he was above law and faith.
However, since the murder didn’t take place, then it means there’s no crime and as such no punishment. It looks like Jihwa was able to maintain his innocence and purity. And that’s exactly how Nameless is thinking. The criminal’s words have an impact on the aristocrat, leading him to think that nothing happened. However, both are totally wrong. The abduction was a crime and the horror the painter was exposed to and what he had to hear and fear, will leave terrible marks in the painter’s mind. Let’s not forget, how he was suffocated till he fainted and Byeonduck truly outlined the gravity of the misdeed. sure, this image comes from a nightmare but it is influenced by his traumatizing experience. This will definitely leave a huge trauma on Baek Na-Kyum, which will be followed by nightmares. And Seungho will realize, how his loved one was hurt and since he was exposed to a similar situation, his thirst for revenge and punishment will be definitely huge. Besides, he will blame himself again. First, he was unable to protect the painter from the nobles, and secondly he punished him himself, though he was truly innocent. That’s why I am expecting a purge, organized by the protagonist. However, don’t get me wrong, I am not saying, he will act like with his staff. He will use his power and connections.
Since there’s a crime, there’ll be a punishment. And in this chapter, the manhwalovers can observe Jihwa’s “immaturity” once again. “It [the murder] is of no consequence”. Observe that Jihwa didn’t renounce on the assassination, because he realized the real gravity of the crime. Nameless described the killing as horrible as possible so that he would get a shock, unable to face the brutality of reality, and it worked. However, Jihwa decides to give up, as he recognizes the futility of the action. He will never obtain, what he really wanted. And for me, the expression “it is of no consequence” shows Jihwa’s lack of maturity. The abduction and the horror he was exposed to made him run away, while the painter couldn’t. While Jihwa was able to escape and to vomit to overcome the shock, Baek Na-Kyum never had the chance to do so. So there will be consequences, which neither Jihwa nor Nameless are expecting. Why? First, Nameless has the impression, Jihwa acted as a jilted lover and imagined, he had acted on an impulse. That’s why he feels sorry for him. He looks like he was a passionate and genuine lover. Nonetheless, he has no idea what the red-haired noble did to his childhood friend and why Yoon Seungho rejected him. But more importantly, he is not aware of Min’s participation and manipulation. He has no idea that Jihwa was the puppet used to hurt Yoon Seungho, so that the latter would be humiliated and lose his place as alpha among the nobles. Remember what I wrote before, Min gave Jihwa an order and nothing else. So when he visited the noble in chapter 56, he actually reminded him to give the order for the murder. At the same time, Min knew that there would be an abduction, as Min had recommended to make it look like an accident. Notice that when he asks to be part of the plan, he is acting, as if he was only a participant and Jihwa was the mastermind. He wants Jihwa to take the blame, in case something goes wrong. However, since he is using the imperative tense, this signifies that Min is giving an order and this is really important in my opinion. He is truly a puppet master, letting people think that they make their own decision, while in reality he corners them and forces them to decide what he really wants. Even Seungho fell into his trap in chapters 52-54.
While Nameless doesn’t know about Min’s involvement and request, the red-haired noble is unaware that his hands are already tainted by blood. Yes, he is responsible for Deok-Jae’s death. And in my opinion, the servant’s death will become a tool for Yoon Seungho’s vengeance and justification for punishment. Let’s not forget the friend’s words during that dinner: Even Min could face punishment, if they are caught which reveals Yoon Seungho’s true power. However, Black Heart dismisses the point by saying that they just need to make it look like an accident. However, the way Deok-Jae was killed doesn’t look like an accident. Since the condition is not met, this means, Yoon Seungho has a justification to go after them. And now, here is the question: who will be framed for the crime? Jihwa could definitely been betrayed by Min, which will symbolize Jihwa’s Fall of Eden. However, there is another possibility that Jihwa doesn’t face any punishment immediately and someone else becomes the target. Let’s not forget that in “Crime and punishment”, a painter is framed and we have a false confession too.
I have the impression that the noble with the mole could become Yoon Seungho’s target. Why do I come up with this idea? First, Jihwa seems to admire the relationship he has with Min. Besides, the red-haired aristocrat seems very close to the man dressed in purple. The latter visited him after the humiliation suffered in chapter 8, so did the second lead after discovering Yoon Seungho sleeping with the painter in chapter 43. So they both confide to each other. Secondly, let’s not forget that Byeonduck’s work contains a certain pattern. Min challenged the main lead twice during the first season (33-41) and the second season (52-54). Then Jihwa was humiliated once in season 1 (chapter 17-18) and it occurred in chapters 56-57 in season 2. Yet, the man with the purple role was dragged away in chapter 8 but nothing has happened to him yet. Imagine Jihwa’s reaction, if something like that happens to his friend. He will definitely agonize, because he will feel responsible for his friend’s misery and will blame Min for abandoning him. The admiration expressed above outlines his innocence one more time. Finally, Crime and punishment is also my source of inspiration. Due to a false confession and accusation, Dorion decides at the end to confess his involvement. And this could definitely happen in Painter Of The Night. Jihwa takes his responsibility and decides to confess the crime. This would turn him truly into a man. But okay, this last part is just a speculation.
Nevertheless, right now, Jihwa has no idea that his decision to abduct the painter has consequences, just like Nameless is not considering an abduction a crime. Both are living in an illusion, though Nameless believes, he knows the world so well. Their short-lived peace will end soon and the comfort experienced with Nameless will leave a bitter taste first, the moment Jihwa hears about Deok-Jae’s death and its consequences. There’s no doubt that Jihwa will resent Nameless for the murder. He already criticized him for involving the vicious domestic in their plan. I believe, Jihwa will blame him for this and Nameless will confront him with his initial decision. He was hired to kill someone. Even if the money was returned, it doesn’t mean that everything is erased. Jihwa made the decision to hire Nameless and as such, he needs to take his responsibility.
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