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. 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/
“In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.” ― Judith Lewis Herman, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence – From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
After reading this quote, it becomes understandable why Yoon Seungho not only repressed his first rape, but also was encouraged to forget it and to live with memory loss. The manhwaphiles could witness how Judith Lewis Herman’s quote was applied right after the sexual assault, when the butler made sure to attack Yoon Seungho’s credibility. He tried to silence the main lead with guilt and fear. Note how the poor boy has to beg for the servant’s mercy, which reminds us of the physician’s reaction in the same chapter: Both characters are grabbing the valet’s clothes. This exposes that both were put in the same situation: their innocence and ignorance were used against them, making them speechless. However, Kim was not the rapist himself, he was just the helping hand of the perpetrator. [Imagine how my first essay about Kim “The helping hand” fits his personality so perfectly, although I had portrayed him in a good light]. I have to admit that after writing the analysis “Interpretation of a nightmare”, I kept thinking about the identity of the culprit.
One might say that the culprit’s identity is now clear. It’s lord Song, especially if the manhwaworms take the following panels into consideration: . However, this is not correct, because Yoon Seungho is suffering from memory loss, hence he can not be connecting lord Song to his first sexual assault rather to the second rape and betrayal. Therefore I come to the conclusion that the main lead and his friend have been misled that only lord Song is responsible for the protagonist’s suffering. That’s why the main lead associates his suffering to lord Song. Yet, he has repressed the first sexual assault in the domestic quarters. (chapter 74) On the other hand, the manhwaphiles should remember how scared Kim was, when he heard about a meeting between lord Song and Yoon Seungho. He definitely didn’t want them to meet for the simple reason that if the main character had encountered his so-called enemy, lord Song could have been able to defend himself and claim that he was not responsible. Since according to my theory, lord Song is the king and has been hiding his identity, it is possible that the real meeting would have revealed the lies told by Kim. But there’s another reason why I am suspecting two perpetrators responsible for Yoon Seungho’s suffering. The manhwaphiles shouldn’t forget that Baek Na-Kyum has attracted the attention of two nobles: the main lead and Black Heart. The former did rape the painter (chapter 25) and the second aristocrat planned to assault the artist sexually too. (chapter 56). So we have two perpetrators in my opinion. There’s no doubt that the main culprit is the king, nevertheless I believe that the first culprit is as guilty as the monarch, for after that incident, father Yoon chose to train his son as prostitute. The manhwaphiles will certainly recall that after the artist’s rape, the scholar brought back the low-born with the intention of treating him as a spying prostitute. (chapter 29) That’s why I came to realize that we should look for two old bearded men.
Besides, since I had elaborated that the man was able to trespass the propriety without getting noticed, it meant that he was acquainted with the mansion and the family. That’s why it can not be be lord Song, because Jihwa only knows his name. In other words, the perpetrator must have been close to father Yoon. Then we have another clue about the rapist’s identity:
He was rather old and had a beard. Because Yoon Seungho was just a teenager, old should be relativized. It just meant that the man was already married and had his own family. Thereby none of the single aristocrats around Yoon Seungho and Min have a beard. They are not married, so they are still considered as young. To sum up, the man with a beard was acquainted with father Yoon, hence he had the opportunity to meet the young prodigy and started lusting after him. And then I had suddenly this revelation. We already met an old bearded man: (chapter 67) Yes, father Lee! 😱 First, Lee Jihwa was a childhood friend from the main lead, which means that father Lee and father Yoon were close. Moreover, the man must have brought his son to the mansion and used this as an excuse to watch the young man from afar. Besides, the second lead is someone who used to sneak in the main lead’s propriety. Let’s not forget that the story keeps repeating itself, hence this means technically that the father could have done the same. He chose to trespass the propriety in order to taste the young man. Like father, like son. With such a description, it signifies that father Leee was exactly like Min, who felt that he had been bewitched by Yoon Seungho (chapter 43) and could no longer resist this temptation. (chapter 56) Hence he asked for Kim’s help. We know for sure that the valet will never defend anyone, only his own interest, because he would like to lead a peaceful life. The problem is that Jihwa was himself attracted to the main lead, and when Jihwa and Yoon Seungho were caught due to an erotic painting [for further details: https://bebebisous33analyses.com/2021/01/25/painter-of-the-night-painting-and-desires-part-2/] , Father Yoon decided to separate the children. (chapter 57) Thus father Lee could no longer use Jihwa as a justification for his visitations. Moreover, it looks like the young boy was imprisoned in the servants’ quarter. Therefore, father Lee had no longer the opportunity to see Yoon Seungho, which is quite similar to Min’s method. The latter used the painting as a reason for his second visit and later tried to engage a discussion with the main lead and the painter because of a painting. Strictly speaking, father Lee utilized his son to approach the protagonist. From my point of view, the culprit is definitely similar to Black Heart, because the latter has the impression that he has been bewitched, that he just needs to taste him and after that, his thirst will be satisfied.
And now with this new theory, we would have explanations to the reasons why father Lee neglected his son. The latter was just using Jihwa to approach the main lead, and after tasting the young man, he had definitely no reason to repeat this, because the young boy didn’t react, like he had envisioned it. The manhwaphiles should recall that The Joker has been eyeing the painter because of his facial expressions and gaze oozing purity and attraction. (chapter 33) So it is definitely possible that father Lee was attracted to Yoon Seungho’s face. But the rape triggered the opposite reaction in Yoon Seungho. Hence the culprit’s lust vanished. And this would represent the only divergence with Min, for the latter was not bothered by Baek Na-Kyum’s shocked expression with the kiss. Moreover, the enemies and betrayers are often the one closest to the main characters, see for example the scholar who backstabbed and abandoned Baek Na-Kyum on many occasions. Kim did the same to his master Yoon Seungho. He even created false memories. Moreover, we have Heena who hurt her brother through her words and actions, just like Jihwa did to his childhood friend. The two characters wounded the protagonists out of love. So why not father Lee betraying his acquaintance, the eldest master Yoon?
Moreover, if you pay attention to father Lee’s reactions in chapter 67, you’ll notice three important aspects. First, he is shaking out fear. This can’t be explained with the presence of the sword, for the main lead had already stated that he wouldn’t cause too much trouble and the head of the family was not the target. Yoon Seungho was even quite respectful towards father Lee. One might say that he was shaking out of anger due to the uproar. However, the father even yelled before. Moreover, his discomfort kept increasing despite the calm words from the main lead. First, a drop of a sweat appeared on his face, then his face was getting redder and redder. At the end, he was even trembling. Both are a sign of fear and embarrassment. Why? My theory that he is the rapist could give the explanation for such a reaction.
On the other hand, one could argue that Yoon Seungho mentioned the presence of old bearded men, indicating that father Lee couldn’t have been alone. Yet, the readers shouldn’t forget that in the rape in the shed we had another person involved: Kim. And the man is also an old bearded man!
Imagine that after so many years, the main lead faces his rapist and it is definitely possible that he could remember the incident. When father Lee heard about the main lead’s barging, he just rushed to his son’s side without thinking, yet once meeting each other, he is reminded of his own crime. We shouldn’t forget that Kim had also repressed the rape, but he was reminded, when he saw Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho having sex in the shed. The father could have a similar reaction. He had totally forgotten the incident, until he saw his face again. What caught my attention is the following panel: How could the protagonist sully the Lee family name any further? This means that there could be more than the ruckus he created. And since the aristocrat spoke before about a business he had to deal with Jihwa, father Lee could have interpreted it differently. It could definitely be related to father Lee’s wrongdoing. Yoon Seungho could reveal the father’s crime. Besides, since the eldest master was well aware of this son’s relationship with the main lead, hence it can not be truly linked to sodomy as such. As for the appearances, everyone in town knew the special relationship between Jihwa and the main lead, therefore it was no real secret. And the manhwaphiles should keep in mind this quote:
“If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure no one listens.”
Note how the father is trying to destroy Yoon Seungho’s reputation. First, he points out his debauchery, then he describes him as a scoundrel and beast. If he is the perpetrator, then he is definitely silencing the victim by attacking his reputation so that the moment the protagonist remembers, no one will ever believe him. From my point of view, father Lee never met again the protagonist after the rape, as the latter was sent to the palace. The manhwaphiles have to keep in mind that Jung In-Hun witnessed the rape, but he never intervened, as it didn’t serve his interest. Therefore there’s a high chance that father Yoon saw in the sexual assault a new possibility for Yoon Seungho. We should remember that the protagonist was sent to the servants’ quarter, this signified that the eldest master no longer saw any use in the eldest son. He was exactly like a commoner, he had no value. Concerning father Lee, the experience didn’t meet his expectation, hence he left the boy behind and chose to forget his wrongdoing: Out of sight, out of mind. And this explicates why the man could more or less forget his crime. He was one of those, whose feelings would fade away so quickly: Furthermore, by putting the whole blame on Yoon Seungho for his son’s sodomy, it could be his way to avoid any responsibility. He is just trying to wash off his hand, the protagonist was a seductive sodomite right from the start and he is the reason why his son was bewitched later. He is the cause for his “rape” and his son also fell under his spell. The only difference is that Jihwa couldn’t escape from the “witch’s power”, therefore he became a filthy sodomizer.
One might argue that when he saw father Lee, Yoon Seungho didn’t seem flustered or shaken. He was rather calm and had the strength to reply to the lord’s accusation. Thus he didn’t react, like he portrayed himself in chapter 44. However, we shouldn’t underestimate the lord’s fury in that scene. Yoon Seungho was so mad at his former childhood friend due to the abduction, hence his body didn’t react to the presence of an old bearded man. His mind and heart were focused on his childhood friend. Moreover, his statement outlines that he reacts, when he is facing more than one old bearded man. But so far, he only met them separately.
Furthermore, Yoon Seungho’s nightmare only appeared right after meeting father Lee, as the events in chapter 67 and 74 took place during the same day and night. Hence this can not be a coincidence. Facing the perpetrator triggered his memory, thus every incident related to his long suffering resurfaced. However, he still can’t remember the face. He only recalls the hand grabbing him. Nonetheless, his unconscious is telling him that he should remember the culprit’s face. Note that he is here only looking at one person. Besides, since Kim had a brief recollection of the rape just before father Lee’s appearance, it could be perceived as a clue that the culprit had a similar experience. And both tried to repress it. So imagine this: Father Lee used the main lead’s terrible reputation to keep his distance from him, asking from his son to never meet the protagonist in order to maintain their respectability. Consequently, Lee Jihwa had to hide his relationship from his father, but the father didn’t care. He had the perfect excuse to avoid the main lead. However, the real reason for this escapism was the following. He still feared that the young boy could remember, and now Yoon Seungho has definitely power due to his wealth and connections to officials. In addition, the main lead is no longer under the control of father Yoon.
And if this theory is correct, then it means that the moment Yoon Seungho remembers the first rape, he will recall father Lee’s face. Therefore I doubt that the protagonist will remain passive, he will definitely go after the Lee family. Let’s not forget that Yoon Seungho declared to father Lee that he was now responsible for his son, and he could no longer feign ignorance. (chapter 67) In other words, once there’s no secrecy any longer, the lord could retaliate again father Lee and use Jihwa’s misdeeds to punish the father for his crime. And since the father is a coward, he will act like father Yoon, who abandoned his son. Father Lee will turn his back on his own son. The manhwaphiles shouldn’t forget the principle: Jihwa is going to suffer, exactly like the painter and as such Yoon Seungho. Both were betrayed and abandoned by their fathers. In other words, the second lead would pay for the father’s sin, it would be his karma. At the same time he will experience what Yoon Seungho went through, and no longer claim that he truly knows. Envision this: the second lead would be punished for his father’s crime, however Yoon Seungho would use the painter’s kidnapping and Deok-Jae’s death as an excuse for the authorities’ intervention. He might have had a bad reputation, yet Yoon Seungho is a noble and he has definitely some connections to the authorities. Finally, even the noble with the mole pointed out that the artist’s death could have serious consequences. So does this theory plausible or not? One thing is sure: the fathers are portrayed in a terrible light: coward, selfish, hypocrite and stupid… and father Lee is no exception. Hence he could have definitely committed a crime, but as a noble he got away, because for the eldest master Yoon, the protagonist was like a commoner, he had no worth at all. That’s why he lived in the servants’ quarter and received a straw mat beating.
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