Painter Of The Night: “Crime and punishment – part 2”

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.

Feel free to comment. If you have any suggestion for topics or manhwas, feel free to ask. If you enjoyed reading it, retweet it or push the button like. My tumblr-twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and the support.

18 thoughts on “Painter Of The Night: “Crime and punishment – part 2”

  1. But we don’t know if he was suffocated or if it was just a nightmare?
    There are literally no traces on his neck. Yes bruises can appear after 1-2 days but there should be at least some swelling, redness etc.
    So I don’t know if it’s lack of medical knowledge of BD part or it was just a creation of NK’s subconsciousness.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve noticed in your essays Yoon is often the highest judge, someone who will bring justice and punishment.
    But who will be the judge of Seungho? What punishment will he face?
    The explanation that his past misfortune, trauma and nightmares are punishment enough is deceitful logic.
    Past can’t and shouldn’t be the punishment for present mistakes and wrongdoings.

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      1. I think there are other ways to knock someone out beside strangulation.
        I’m just surprised the author didn’t leave any traces on Nakyum’s neck to confirm that it hasn’t been just a nightmare.
        But I guess we will have to wait and see.

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      2. Sure, there are some other ways but the image shows he suffocated… It can happen differently. But suffocation is similar to strangulation. Anyway it doesn’t matter, the thing is that BNK felt like he was about to die. He had no idea that they had planned to let him live. He heard them talking about different ways to die or suffer… Imagine, BNK was forced to deal it on his own.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to say I don’t understand some things in the story.
    For example even if Jihwa was mistaken about declination of Yoon lineage, in the end Seungho is the outcast, who was humiliated by his own father. He got some land but why he is so absurdly powerful?
    He killed his servant without any consequences in the first chapter and hurt Jihwa’s, he mishandle fellow nobles, beat Min to bloody pulp, he cut Jihwa’s top knot and then tried to kill him or at least hurt him in public.
    And there are still no consequences?
    Maybe in the future nobles will ally against him?

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    1. It is because IMO he received the mansion and the properties, when his father sold him out to save his own skin. Seungho was smart enough to use trade to obtain money and not just rely on officials to gain power. Since he is earning his money through trade, he was able to get support from merchants and get connections to officials.

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  4. But wouldn’t it be hypocritical for Seungho to punish these who hurt Nakyum when he is the one who hurt him the most through the story (we can argue about Inhun)?
    Also I’m not sure if it made Nakyum’s happy. He is not avenger type (at least for now).
    Shouldn’t Seungho for once take Nakyum’s feelings into consideration?

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    1. But he is the one who freed the painter as well. And let’s not forget that for each rejection Seungho suffered as well since he was forced to reveal his trauma. Baek Na-Kyum forgave him in the end but this time, it was different. I believe, the painter could forgive Jihwa at the end. Jung In-Hun abused in many ways but the painter has repressed it

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ok. But he also took the freedom from him.
        Seungho didn’t NK many reasons to like him.
        Yes he freed his sexuality, made him awere of his body and desires and gave some scrapes off affection here and there but we shouldn’t forget that he hurt him deeply many times both mentally and physically.
        It doesn’t sit well with me that someone as stained with mistakes as Seungho should be anyone’s (beside people who wronged HIM) judge tbh. Especially it looks ridiculous in NK’s case (and people who wronged him because he is among them).

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      2. Yes and no. He gave him a home, while all the others abandoned him. Besides, Baek Na-Kyum doesn’t resent him, in fact he loves him. This shows, he forgave him. You might not feel the same way, but from BNK’s perspective, it is different. BNK might not ask for blood and punishment, yet from Seungho’s perspective who suffered in the past, it will give him the reason to retaliate. So far, he never took any step against his father or others. He thought about revenge, but in a suicidal way. Yes, he wronged him but in his own way, he tried to redeem himself. The fact that he recognizes his mistakes is a huge step, while he was taught, a noble is always right and should never feel remorse or reflect on his actions.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. He gave him “home” (which is half prison) without consideration of Nakyum’s feelings in the matter.
    How can you call something home when you can’t leave the place whenever you want? Even the most beautiful cage is still a prison.

    I partly agree but forgiveness of the victim doesn’t change the fact of commited crime/wrong.

    Once again imo it looks hypocritical for Yoon to be the one to bring justice to these who wronged BNK when he is among them.

    But he has all the right to seek vengeance against these who wronged him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But justice has never been brought by people with a clean past. The king is himself not free from wrongdoings but he will bring justice to others or even injustice. Just because YSH hurt the painter in the past, this doesn’t mean, he can’t do ask for justice. Hurting the painter is like hurting him and Min is well aware of that.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. But I’m just talking about the hypocrisy of such act.
        I’m just saying that the circumstances and Seungho’s own actions towards NK make it exceptionally hypocritical.

        But yes definitely Min’s actions were aimed against Seungho and with hurting SH in mind.

        Liked by 1 person

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