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.
Now, you are wondering how this story from Greek mythology is connected to the manhwa. [I am posting links for people who are not familiar with this story https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNk-zV2T7bI https://www.thoughtco.com/what-was-pandoras-box-118577] While examining Min, I recognized his ultimate weapons, knowledge and as such secrets, and these elements play a huge part in Pandora’s box.
Prometheus brought humans fire, a sign for knowledge, and Zeus decided to punish Prometheus and humankind, by creating Pandora, the first woman. The latter had flaws hidden behind her beautiful face and gentle manners, curiosity was one of them. In other words, she was a poisonous gift, but Epimetheus, Prometheus’ brother, didn’t realize it. When Pandora was entrusted with the box, her curiosity couldn’t help her from opening the lid of the box, that’s how diseases and catastrophes appeared on Earth bringing misery to humankind. Pandora desired to know the content of the box, it means, she wished to discover the secrets of that box. As you can observe, in this story knowledge is associated to punishment. Humankind should be punished, because they had fire brought by Prometheus. At the same time, when the box was opened, the secrets in form of diseases and other misfortunes were revealed, bringing misery to people. And strangely, Epimetheus discovered in the box the last secret: a butterfly embodying hope. With hope, life on Earth was still bearable. Hope was the solution to the released secrets. And in Painter of The Night, the painter is represented by the butterfly (special episode 1), like I had pointed out in a former essay. Since I have determined that Baek Na-Kyum is the butterfly in that story, symbolizing truth and hope, the question is now: what is the box in Painter Of The Night? For me, the box represents the past with all his secrets linked to pain and traumas. And the opening of the lid leads to suffering and tragedy, yet despite the agony, the figures will be able to move on and have hope. The painter will serve as a tool to unveil the truth signifying that all the secrets and as such the past will be revealed. And now there’s only one question left. Who is Pandora in this story? Which person opens the box full of secrets bringing misery but hope to the characters in this story?
I am quite sure that the manhwalovers have already found an answer: Min, since the latter uses knowledge and secrets as his tool in order to achieve his goals. Let me you give an illustration. In chapter 36, Black Heart actually lies to the second character by giving a false information, yet he gives the impression that his intelligence is real and concrete. If you pay attention to his expressions (“I hear”, “He doesn’t seem”), you’ll notice that his tip is uncertain and unreliable. In fact, he reveals that he is utilizing rumors. Why doesn’t the red-haired aristocrat recognize the manipulation? It’s because Min is well aware of the character’s personality. Min knew that Jihwa would always believe the gossips. The manhwaphiles should remember how Jihwa often mentions hearsays: chapter 13 and chapter 18 . Jihwa is always listening to the hearsay. In the last case, he tried to influence Yoon Seungho with such gossips. That’s why the red-haired aristocrat could only fall into Black Heart’s trap. The latter knew not only Jihwa’s love for his childhood friend, but also the influence of rumors on him. Min knew that Jihwa would always get his intel through others, because he would avoid to be confronted with reality and as such facts. Besides, Min perceived that the noble was very sensitive to Yoon Seungho’s sex life, hence he used the idiom “hopping from bedchamber to chamber”. It is important to remind the readers of Jihwa’s confession Min was definitely aware of Jihwa’s weaknesses: his love for his childhood friend, the importance of hearsay on him and the resent for this image “Yoon Seungho is fooling around with men”. Note that his friend with the mole caught the lie. Observe that the latter is sweating and looking at Min with such a serious face. Nevertheless, he doesn’t try to contradict Min. He remains silent here and looks at Jihwa’s reaction. Since the latter claims that he will never visit Yoon Seungho, the noble with the mole believes that the lie will have no consequence. This scene is important for two reasons. First, although the noble with the mole is a confident of Jihwa, the former doesn’t have a good understanding of his friend. In reality, he doesn’t truly know Jihwa’s weaknesses. This was visible in chapter 9, when he visited him and told him about the humiliation. The noble with the mole was not aware that Jihwa would be irritated and wounded, when the latter would hear that the former had planned to participate in a sex session with Yoon Seungho. That’s how perceptive Min is. He detected all the red-haired noble’s secrets. Striking is that in that particular scene, while Min employed his knowledge to trick the drunk noble, he discovered the existence of a secret, which was triggered by the noble with the purple robe. Why? It’s because “You know” is standing in opposition to “dream”. Knowledge is a synonym for facts and reality. Therefore, Jihwa finally confesses that he knows a secret about the main lead.In that moment, Min is able to catch the existence of the main lead’s weakness. The latter must have been deeply wounded in the past. It doesn’t matter how… the fact that Yoon Seungho has a wound is enough for Min. Through the red-haired noble’s revelation, Min realizes that Yoon Seungho is acting like a cold-headed person, while in reality he is hot-tempered due to his wounds. Min could make the connection to the incident with the top-knot. That’s how he recognized that Jihwa would use his knowledge of the past and would hurt his childhood friend due to his love for him. As you can sense, Jihwa left clues here and there to Min so that the latter could gather all the information about his rival and use his knowledge to defeat his rival. That’s how innocent and naive Jihwa was. While he thought, he was keeping everything a secret, since he was always allusive, he never recognized that he was doing the opposite. As you can see, Jihwa was the one who delivered the box to Min, and Min opened it therefore he brought pain to the protagonists, yet at the same time, he created an opportunity for them as well. The main leads were forced to face reality and reveal their true thoughts and emotions.
And now, you understand why Min used the same method to wound Yoon Seungho in chapter 52/53/54. He ridiculed the protagonist because the latter was treating the low-born like a precious treasure. The snake had detected that the lord was protecting his pride in reality despite the bad reputation: “common brute” (chapter 59) or in Min’s case: He humiliated him for the second time by revealing that he was in love with a commoner. As you can see, Min could perceive Yoon Seungho’s vulnerabilities and used the secrets in order to wound his rival and the object of his obsession. By opening the box, he made the protagonists suffer. However, the manhwalovers shouldn’t forget that Pandora in the story gets hurt as well, signifying that Min will get hurt by these secrets too.
What caught my attention is that in chapter 43, Black Heart used his knowledge about Jihwa’s love for Yoon Seungho in order to manipulate the childhood friend. He described the painter, Jihwa’s rival, as a manipulative witch and charlatan who was putting the main lead in danger, creating the illusion, if Jihwa intervened, he would do something honorable. He reversed the situation by describing Baek Na-Kyum as bad as possible. He knew exactly how to trigger the red-haired noble’s jealousy, simultaneously making him believe that he was representing righteousness. Yet, like I mentioned it in the essay “The Joker – part 3”, in this scene, Min was actually revealing his own thoughts and emotions. He was envious of Yoon Seungho and couldn’t bear the thought that the painter would become the protagonist’s mistress, because this signified that he could never taste the commoner. Yet during that night, no one recognized this.
Then in chapter 56, in front of Jihwa, Black Heart voiced his wish to taste the painter, exposing his interest for the low-born. And since Min only talked to the red-haired noble, this means that this information became a secret. In this panel, Jihwa questions Min’s reliability which indicates that he is now questioning the character’s personality, a first sign of critical thinking. In my opinion, soon the position will be switched. Jihwa will be in possession of a secret, Black Heart’s real motivation for targeting Yoon Seungho. From my point of view, Min’s weapons (knowledge and secrets) will be employed against him.
I consider the chapter 66 as the turning point for Min. The latter is not aware that he is jeopardizing his position, too sure about his superiority and his knowledge. Let’s not forget that Min made a terrible mistake in chapter 66. He revealed the childhood friend’s involvement in the painter’s disappearance thinking that Yoon Seungho would act like in the past: become a monster and vent his anger against Jihwa. But what he didn’t know and anticipate is that Yoon Seungho would hurt the painter first. With this new revelation, Yoon Seungho realized his true sins. He had misjudged the painter, had allowed his rage to blind him to the point that he had hurt an innocent. He was responsible for the commoner’s trauma. Therefore he couldn’t blame Jihwa for the disappearance right away, the main lead had to face his own culpability. When Black Heart mentions Jihwa’s participation, he is expecting an immediate reaction from his counterpart: Jihwa will become the target of Yoon seungho’s anger and fury. Yet, what Min fails to realize is that by revealing Jihwa’s involvement, he exposes his complicity. He knew that the childhood friend had planned something and remained silent. And since I pointed out that Yoon Seungho suffered in the past because of the silence of a witness, I believe, the lord will remember this and decide to retaliate against all the people who knew about the incident and stayed quiet. Furthermore, I think, the main lead must have learned his lesson with the last incident: never judge someone based on impressions and beliefs. From my point of view, Yoon Seungho will investigate the matter, just like he did an investigation on the painter and Jung In-Hun during the first season. Besides, I would like to remind that when the murder was suggested, it took place at Min’s friend, so the circumstances make it look like there was a plot.
As a conclusion, chapter 66 displays Min’s miscalculations. He thought, he knew Yoon Seungho well, while he didn’t. Why? It is related to Jihwa’s knowledge. The latter keeps saying that he knows the protagonist, whereas it is not correct, as he doesn’t understand what the main lead went through. Secondly, Black Heart made the mistake to believe that he could understand the main lead’s personality by just observations. And what did he see?
Black Heart saw Yoon Seungho’s protective attitude towards the commoner. First, he would refuse to share him (chapter 33), then the protagonist would humiliate him in order to protect the painter’s identity (chapter 41). Min imagined that Baek Na-Kyum was treated like a treasure, especially due to the incident at the tailor’s shop. In the second season, the main lead had even kissed him in order to protect the low-born , then he had defended him against a vicious servant. One might argue that the noble had brought him to the sex session, yet since the host stopped the rape before and even evicted his guests in a rough manner, for Min, it was a real sign that Yoon Seungho was very caring. However, this is not reality, as Yoon Seungho mistreated the painter. Strangely, the painter never saw his true caring side, because he was always asleep (chapter 33, 34, 45, 50) or he was blind and deaf due to his own agony. Their relationship was far more complex. Finally, since Min’s knowledge was based on his observations, he could only view what Yoon Seungho allowed him to see: Black Heart is not aware of the main lead’s insecurities and self-hatred or his illness. Not even Jihwa knows about the existence of his illness which was supposed to have appeared in his teens. This explicates that Min’s information was not correct and he was fated to make mistakes. Besides, he doesn’t care for commoners and servants so Min is not paying attention to changes among Yoon Seungho’s staff. His understanding is quite superficial. The other mistake is that he is not aware of the last events at the mansion: Deok-Jae’s disappearance and his involvement in a poisoning incident. Furthermore, he has no idea about Yoon Seungho’s true power and connections, although his friend warned him . There’s no doubt that Min’s judgement about Yoon Seungho is also influenced by his reputation as a hell-raiser. That’s the reason why Min came to the conclusion that the protagonist was exactly like him. For Black Heart, the main character was seeking pleasure and fun by causing commotions and violating social norms, whereas the cause for main lead’s behavior is different: he has been brainwashed and traumatized. more complex. And you comprehend why I believe, Min will get hurt in the end. “His knowledge” will be the source for his misery and his punishment. And it will backfire on him. Besides, I suspect that Min won’t learn from his mistake and will make another mistake … he will still believe that he just needs to find a secret in order to have the upper hand. I have the feeling that Min will investigate why Yoon Seungho decided to sponsor the scholar Jung In-Hun, since the latter was mentioned in connection with the envious man. (chapter 52). Consequently he will discover the true reason behind the sponsor: Baek Na-Kyum has always admired the teacher. There’s another reason why the scholar’s path will cross Black Heart’s: their preference for investigation and secrecy. Don’t forget that the teacher tried to find some secrets in order to find a weakness in his sponsor and blackmail him (chapter 29). That’s why I envision that with the scholar’s return, we will witness how the teacher tries to use his knowledge in order to gain something, especially if the wealthy aristocrat abandons him, the moment Baek Na-Kyum refuses to help his former teacher. There’s no doubt that Jung In-Hun will use secrets in order to manipulate Min, when the latter approaches him. In my opinion, the scholar could use the incident at the pavilion (the rape) , when he notices that Min has the same “obsession” than Yoon Seungho. For me, there was never an ambiguity that the teacher witnessed the rape but chose not to intervene. He used his “knowledge” by acting ignorant, applying the butler’s philosophy: That way, he didn’t need to take the responsibility for the wrongdoing. Since history repeats itself in Painter Of The Night and the past is slowly revealed, we have anticipate that the incidents from the first season will resurface: the rape, the reproach and Baek Na-Kyum’s discovery of the teacher’s true face and hypocrisy. And imagine Black Heart’s reaction, when he hears about the rape, in that moment, he will interpret all the incidents in a different light. He never brought the painter to the sex sessions, because the artist got raped and in reality he was secluded. Then he will remember that the lord distanced himself from Baek Na-Kyum and returned to debauchery, the painter denied the lord’s feelings for him and as such rejected the master’s advances. Then he will remember that the commoner was brought to the sex party, before the noble changed his mind. Envision that if Jung In-Hun decides to expose how the lord treated the artist during the first season (the straw mat beating, the rape, the escape… ) which Min never heard of, the latter could imagine that the artist is kept captive and decide to “abduct” him in order to liberate him. That way, he could turn himself into a hero… I know, here I am no longer studying the story, but just making assumptions. Yet, what I want to demonstrate is that knowledge and secrets represent the key to Pandora’s box. My point is that all the secrets from season 1 will become fatal to Min and Jung In-Hun, as they will be used to manipulate. There is no coincidence that both use the same methods (manipulation, lies and knowledge to deceive others), since the two figures have a similar disposition (jealousy, greed and ambition). Yet their insight is superficial in the end. So far, they both lived in their own world, quite protected and have never experienced the harshness of reality. That’s why I am convinced that the scholar and Min will find each other and their encounter will cause them to suffer in the end. That’s why I have the impression that Jung In-Hun could be judged as another Pandora. In my opinion, his investigation about the past will bring him suffering, while he is anticipating that the discovery of secrets will help him to achieve his goal.
But there’s another Pandora in this story, someone who uses knowledge and secrets as weapons. Yes, that’s Nameless. There’s no ambiguity that he is using commoners in order to obtain his intel. Note that he mentions here “channels” indicating that he has different sources. First, we can assume that Nameless gets some info from the gisaeng. We know for sure that he hired Deok-Jae. Finally, we are suspecting that he placed a spy among the nobles’ house (Jihwa and now Yoon Seungho ). He knew the servant’s true motivation behind the betrayal, like he explained it to Jihwa in chapter 51. However, I believed that exactly like Min, he made a terrible mistake. He thought that this was related to the harsh beating caused by the painter’s first disappearance. In Nameless’ mind, Deok-Jae hated his lord for his “unfair punishment”, while in reality, Deok-Jae put the whole blame on the painter. In the servant’s eyes, the artist should have been the one receiving the harsh beating. This shows that he never questioned the punishment as such. Why did the criminal misunderstand the domestic? Let’s not forget that Nameless suffered injustice in the past, perceptible by the numbers of his tattoos, hence he projected his own thoughts onto Deok-Jae. What he failed to recognize was the vicious servant’s true motivation: he was jealous of the painter and wished, he had been the one receiving the lord’s favors, willing to become a homosexual, if it meant to improve his living conditions. This panel can be considered as a proof that Nameless misjudged Deok-Jae’s true personality: The latter was in reality greedy! (chapter 46) This explains why the blackmail happened in the end. Since Nameless envisaged that Deok-Jae was resenting his master due to the harsh thrashing, he didn’t expect that Deok-Jae would decide to side with Yoon Seungho in the end, if it meant to get some benefit. (chapter 54) In my opinion, Nameless must have always thought that only aristocrats were greedy, unjust, ruthless and vicious, and would blame the commoners for their crimes. However, reality is much more complex, like I explained in a different essay: silence and passivity can cause damages. Besides, commoners are also humans, therefore they can be vicious, greedy and ruthless. To sum up, the criminal has a biased perception of the world. The other mistake the criminal made is related to his perception about Jihwa. He noticed the red-haired noble’s innocence due his bad habit (biting nails) and showed signs of bad conscience. Therefore he had the impression that Jihwa was not responsible for this situation, rather the childhood friend who chose to reject him and drop him for a low-born acting on a whim. Yet, what Nameless doesn’t know is what the red-haired noble did before: the constant bullying on the painter (chapter 5, 10, 17). For me, Nameless is already biased and has a better impression of his client than Yoon Seungho who hurt his staff so unfairly (chapter 29/30) and humiliated Jihwa twice (chapter 18, 57). That’s why he is pitying his client. In his eyes the master did nothing wrong, he only loved his friend. Consequently he imagined that the aristocrat was acting on impulse and anticipated that he would give up, yet the latter never did. Since no one visited Jihwa during that time, Nameless thought that the second lead was acting on his own. The noble never mentioned how the idea of the murder was brought up… and he never said anything about Min’s visit in chapter 56. And now imagine his surprise…if my theory is correct, the new guardian is his spy. Jihwa kept a secret from him… but it is the same for Nameless, who killed the domestic. Nameless will realize that other people knew about Jihwa’s intentions, hence he will question the noble’s actions. Nameless will realize quickly that this was more than just a love quarrel. In my opinion, he will investigate the matter. There’s no doubt that we will witness a scene where the criminal and Jihwa will blame each other: one will reproach him for involving the servant Deok-Jae, while the other will tell him how stupid and naive he was. He got betrayed by Min.
From my point of view, Nameless will realize that his knowledge was really superficial and led him to make huge mistakes. Besides, he needs to question his role. He might have pitied the painter during that night, yet the criminal acted as their hands. He is an accomplice and is responsible for the nobles’ misdeeds. His actions are the reason why the nobles can be ruthless and violent and still call themselves honorable and pure.
At the same time, I believe, the appearance of the gisaeng will play a huge role as well. I have to admit that since Nameless was seen with the gisaeng (chapter 51), I have been thinking about this: what if the criminal was searching for Baek Na-Kyum? Envisage, with Heena’s intervention, he discovers the painter’s true identity and realizes that he hurt the person he was looking for and was even supposed to protect. For me, there’s no doubt that Min, Jung In-Hun, Jihwa and Nameless will pay for their “knowledge”, because they were actually biased by their own belief and arrogance.
And remember that Pandora’s box was a punishment because humans had received “knowledge” in the form of “fire”. This story is important because it shows that no one can have the whole knowledge and as such possesses truth. And now, you comprehend why Jihwa, the teacher, Nameless and Min made mistakes. It’s because Yoon Seungho never revealed his true thoughts and emotions in front of Jihwa and he never showed his true self in front of Min. Jung In-Hun never got to experience the true power from the main lead. The latter never showed him his real capacities. Finally, the main lead also used rumors in order to deceive people. No one met the real Yoon Seungho, except the painter who got to hear and see everything: his true power (chapter 11), his insecurities (chapter 58) (chapter 63) and his hopes. One might argue that Yoon Seungho was not entirely himself in these chapters, as he couldn’t control his feelings. Yet I believe that because of that, the lord was the most honest. He could never fake his true thoughts and emotions in front of the painter. I am quite certain that the lord learned due to his traumatic past that he needed to be strong in order to protect himself from others… remember that he had no one by his side, therefore I think that despite his debauchery, Yoon Seungho made sure that he had enough power to never become a victim again. However, Baek Na-Kyum is on his way to discern the master’s real personality, not only by discovering his past, but also because from now on, the lord will never approach Baek Na-Kyum for sex and they will have to interact differently: he will show him his true competences.
As a final word, all those who imagined that they knew the past, the lord’s true personality and skills, the reality (aristocracy is corrupt, while the commoners are just victims), they will recognize that they were all wrong, the moment the secrets are leaving Pandora’s box. They will be punished for their “knowledge”.
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