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/
Feel free to make some donations/sponsoring: Ko-fi.com/bebebisous33 That way, you can support me with “coffee” so that I have the energy to keep examining manhwas.
I have to admit that when I chose this title, I imagined that this analysis would be very short, for I mainly desired to talk about Min. However, the more I pondered about the content of this essay, I realized that I should actually include all the drugs in Painter Of The Night. This led me to examine all the other characters suffering from drug addictions. That’s how I made new discoveries again.
1. The drugs in Painter
First, it is important to list the drugs present in this manhwa. We have alcohol (chapter 75), tobacco (chapter 61) and opium (chapter 52).
And because Min and his friends brought opium to the Yoon’s residence and the main lead was present, the readers jumped to the conclusion that the main lead would smoke opium too. (chapter 52) And this perception got reinforced, when the butler confided this to the physician later: (chapter 55) Many readers had the impression that Yoon Seungho had been smoking opium, many went so far to imagine that he had been smoking opium right from the beginning. (chapter 5) However, this was just a lie. Yoon Seungho never smoke opium!!
2. Yoon Seungho’s true addiction
And now, it is time to prove my interpretation. First, you’ll realize the deception, once you read the side effects of opium:
“Short term effects may include: 1. euphoria, 2. relaxation, 3. analgesia” quoted from https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/opium/
This drug has a sedative effect, therefore the opium smoker falls into a torpor and semi-sleep. And we know that Yoon Seungho avoids sleep, for he is plagued by nightmares. (chapter 74) Hence consuming opium would even instigate his nightmares. In addition, observe that in chapter 5, Yoon Seungho was never euphoric nor sleepy. He could interact with the painter normally.
Nicotine causes a range of effects on both the body and mind, including:
Heightened mood […]
As you can see, nicotine increases alertness and memory. Therefore the lord never forgot the words from the painter during the day. They bothered him so much that he kept thinking about his own image: (chapter 05) As you can see, Yoon Seungho had a drug addiction, nitocine.
One might argue that he started smoking opium only later.
And now, pay attention to this image. (chapter 52) The noble in the background was the one smoking opium. Besides, the manhwaphiles will certainly remember how Yoon Seungho behaved in that scene. He heard Min’s words addressed to the painter, he walked straight to Black Heart in order to protect his lover, well aware that Min would invite the painter to join the party. (chapter 52) This means, he was conscious and alert. Besides, we saw him later getting in rage (chapter 53). Here, I would like the manhwaphiles to keep in mind that side effects of opium like euphoria, relaxation and analgesia last for at least 3 to 6 hours. So this outburst of rage is an indication that our protagonist was not under the influence of opium. He was not hallucinating either. He had grasped the whole situation, when he heard Deok-Jae predicting a terrible fate to the artist. In addition, this drug is not considered as a poison inducing psychosis.
“opiates are the only sedative drugs that possess an anti-psychotic effect.” quoted from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24563427/
However, this doesn’t mean that an user from opium won’t suffer from any psychotic symptoms. They are more related to withdrawals or to hallucinations due to the big consumption of opium. https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/opiate-addiction/related-topics/opiate-psychosis/
However, one of the side effects of nicotine is heightened mood, this would explicate his outburst of rage and his irritability right after smoking tobacco. (chapter 52) This explicates why he beat Min and Deok-Jae so furiously, he wasn’t acting under the influence of hallucinations. He was perceptive, he had clearly understood the meaning behind the servant and the noble’s words. As you can see, the lord’s mood swings were more triggered by his addiction to nicotine. This explicates why the main lead had such a violent outburst in the shed after the abduction. He had smoked tobacco the whole day. (chapter 61) Remember how I compared him to dormant volcano, here he was boiling internally.
On the other hand, a person consuming opium will show signs of withdrawals 24 hours after the use. And these are the following signs of opioid withdrawal: Anxiety, insomnia, sweating, vomiting, diarrhea, shaking, yawning, restlessness, widened pupils, body aches, seizures, hallucinations, body aches, rapid breathing, fast heartbeat and more importantly irritability. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/opioid-withdrawal-symptoms#1
Min shows all the signs of a withdrawal in chapter 76. First, he vomits, but hides it under the excuse, he drank too much. He gets in rage, when No-Name calls him a fool. He can no longer keep his mask contrary to the altercation in episode 41, when Yoon Seungho compared him to a mouse: (chapter 41) Besides, we have another evidence that Black Heart has developed an addiction to opium with the following panel: (chapter 76) The gaze is different, an indication of the widened pupils. Furthermore, his restlessness is perceptible the way he approaches The Joker. This time, he has to meet the criminal personally. We could say that he rushes to meet the criminal. Like he said, he was “running out of time”… (chapter 76) These words reflect his own troubled mind.
However, you can see that the lord didn’t get any sign of withdrawal after that terrible night in episode 52. Yes, he got sick, but it is because he didn’t sleep and he had no clothes on. Therefore he caught a cold. Let’s not forget that he had lived for a week without eating or sleeping properly. But my most conclusive evidence is this panel:
(chapter 74) Observe the painter’s reaction. He is coughing, he doesn’t seem affected by the smoke, while he had a total different reaction in chapter 54: Note the euphoria and the sedative effect on the artist’s face. This explicates why he didn’t push the rapists away.
As a conclusion, Yoon Seungho is not addicted to opium, he never smoked it. The aristocrats chose his place to smoke it, because they wouldn’t be caught by their parents. That’s the reason why the noble said this to Black Heart. (chapter 53) They wanted to smoke this drug there, for no one would interrupt them. But because Yoon Seungho let them smoke opium, he became guilty by association: he was also an opium smoker. And the readers had fallen into the same trap. As you can see, I believe that the author is using the method on the manhwaphiles. They are misled by what they see and hear without questioning the authenticity of the statement.
The manhwaphiles will say that Yoon Seungho has another addiction: alcohol. (chapter 55) However, this is another deception. Yoon Seungho is no alcoholic either!! 😲
I have many evidences for this. First, notice that during the first sex orgy, there was no drink and food offered. It was simply sex!! (chapter 08) So his debauchery was linked to sex and nothing more. He would live for sex and nothing else. Furthermore, the manhwalovers will certainly recall the lord’s behavior in the tavern. He ordered wine(chapter 75), but notice that he never became drunk like the painter. (chapter 75) The main lead can consume wine in moderation contrary to the painter!! Therefore he has no addiction to alcohol.
And this is different for Baek Na-Kyum, who became a drunk after his abandonment. (chapter 1) Notice that each time, Baek Na-Kyum would drink alcohol, he could never stop until he almost lost consciousness and started hallucinating (chapter 19) or he would be so inhibited that he couldn’t walk properly. These were the sign of his addiction. I can’t forget the lord’s words in episode 75: (chapter 75) Here, he saw how the alcohol was affecting his lover’s behavior.
Notice that at no moment during the night (52-53-54), Yoon Seungho walked under the influence of alcohol. His feet were the proof that he never consumed wine to the point he would lose consciousness or started hallucinating. (chapter 53) He was walking straight. When the readers saw the following image, they saw it as a confirmation that Yoon Seungho was a drunk. (chapter 54) But in truth, he took some wine in order to overcome his pain, to give himself some “courage” to go through. He had longed for the artist’s warmth after a week of separation, but he knew that Baek Na-Kyum viewed sex as prostitution. He was alert enough to see the consequences of his decision (chapter 54), therefore he broke the bottle. (chapter 54) This is no coincidence that he destroyed the bottle of wine. He had the impression that this drug was the cause for his “hallucination”, he was seeing the painter in ecstasy which could only remind him of his own past. Besides, he didn’t want his companion to become a shadow of himself: (chapter 54) He recognized the perversion of the artist’s redness and lost gaze. He loved him for his pure gaze and blushing.
For an alcoholic, a single drop of alcohol is a synonym for a relapse. Hence the addicted has to avoid anything related to alcohol, like vinegar or medicine containing alcohol. So when the lord proposed the wine, he had no idea about the consequences of his offer. So imagine his reaction, when he heard this: (chapter 75) The lord was responsible for his relapse!! Naturally, this could only pain the lord, for the latter wanted to make his lover smile. On the surface, Baek Na-Kyum’s words were reflecting the truth, as the master had encouraged his lover to take the soju. Hence Yoon Seungho could only feel accountable for this situation. He decided to act as a mature man who should take care of his lover’s intoxication. On the other hand, during the whole dating, Yoon Seungho always remained clear-minded, this was another indication that he never abused alcohol.
So when he said this to Bongyong (chapter 78), I believe that Yoon Seungho never proposed too much wine to his lover afterwards. He had made the experience that if he did, he would be the reason why Baek Na-Kyum would become a drunk. In my opinion, the painter’s relapse was linked to his own suffering, he was tormented by the idea that Yoon Seungho would abandon him, his affection was not deep. Since they had no longer any sex, he had the impression that Yoon Seungho’s love for him was vanishing. As you can see, the painter’s dependency to wine was linked to his repressed libido and his fear of abandonment.
As a conclusion, Yoon Seungho was never addicted to opium or wine. However, this doesn’t mean that nicotine addiction is no big deal. In truth, this drug is as unhealthy as any other drug. The withdrawals are only perceptible, when a consumer stops smoking. The addiction is never obvious like opium or heroine. In addition, the body doesn’t just get poisoned because of nicotine, but the latter also affects sexuality and as such relationships.
“The investigators began to realize that smoking actually became a method of subtle communication for members of the couples being studied. Lighting up gave clues to each partner that it was time to talk, time to give space, or even time to defend yourself because a world-class argument was about to begin. federally funded study is scheduled to go on for another year, and hopefully, will provide methods to help counsel couples how to recognize cigarettes as an abusive third member of their relationship. If couples are going to weed the habit from their lives, the researchers say they will have to find other ways to relate to each other, and more often than just during the familiar after-sex smoke. And of course, as Jordan found, smoking can directly torpedo the sex, too.” quoted from https://www.webmd.com/men/features/want-better-sex
3. The truth behind Kim’s statement
But then why would the butler describe his master as a man addicted to wine and alcohol (chapter 55), if this was not correct? It is related to the situation how the lord became ill: the orgies and more precisely the presence of Black Heart.
What caught my attention is this: (chapter 33) Compare this sex orgy with the following one: (chapter 8) At Black Heart’s party, wine and tobacco were offered, while in Yoon Seungho’s bedchamber you only had books, pictures and sex. Besides, there were more guests. As you can sense, the parties were totally different: austerity versus luxuriousness. Yes, Min wanted to impress his host Yoon Seungho!! He desired to show him what a true sex orgy was. He desired to prove that he was the real hell-raiser, the real king among nobles.
Besides, another detail caught my attention: (chapter 33) The Joker and the bottle of wine!! The manhwaphiles will certainly recall how the villain offered the expensive alcohol to Yoon Seungho (chapter 19). Moreover, I realized that in episode 33, we have a slight change. While Black Heart is seen first with the pipe full of tobacco, (chapter 33), slowly the author brought the villain in connection to the bottle of wine: And at the end, we have this: (chapter 33) The pipe is no longer present, but Byeonduck focused on the bottle. In my eyes, she desired to outline that Min was slowly getting addicted to alcohol. This means, Black Heart is not only addicted to nicotine and opium, but also wine! Notice this:
- chapter 43:
- Chapter 83: .
In these two scenes, Min was serving alcohol or encouraging Jihwa to drink! And now, you have an explanation why the red-haired master became a drunk, when he got abandoned by his lover or tormented by the murder plan. Black Heart was the one introducing this addiction to the second lead. And this interpretation becomes more visible, if the manhwaphiles revisit the event around the failed gangrape.
The person laughing so loudly was in reality Min. You recognize him with his green hanbok. So he was visiting his “acquaintance” and was drinking wine there. While the maid thought, the lord would be the drunk one (chapter 51), I believe that Black Heart was the main consumer!! And now, you comprehend why Yoon Seungho fell into debauchery. (Chapter 55) There was this peer pressure coming Min, who loved luxurious parties. But these parties were no longer sex orgies, for the protagonist was no longer interested in sex. He needed to offer something else to his guests: alcohol and food. Therefore the last picture above is actually more deceiving the readers than anything else. It gives the impression that Yoon Seungho was consuming wine all the time, while in truth he was killing time with these parties. He was alert for the most part of time keeping his thoughts to himself.
But like I outlined above, Black Heart was the one who became more and more addicted. First nicotine, then wine and finally opium. But why? Notice that this coincides with his obsession with the painter. He grabbed the bottle of wine (chapter 33), when Yoon Seungho refused to share his painter with him. So when he heard that Yoon Seungho was organizing parties again, he envisioned that his plan had succeeded. Hence he visited the mansion, yet his loud laugh was actually masking his pain. (chapter 51) He was far from happy, for his fixation on Baek Na-Kyum had not disappeared at all. Therefore, it is not surprising that he started drowning his sorrow. However, alcohol was no longer effective, he needed something stronger to dull his agony. That’s how he discovered opium. And notice that when the lord got punched in the propriety, he felt no pain. (chapter 54) He didn’t protect himself, he had no strength because of the relaxing and sedative effect. He even laughed, a sign that he was under the effect of the drug. (Chapter 54)
However, this doesn’t mean that Min left the house happily! All the guests got evicted like vulgar commoners. His ego was definitely hurt, just like the other nobles’. Therefore on his way out, he told Kim that they had been evicted due to Yoon Seungho’s intoxication. He was under the influence of alcohol and opium. That way, appearances were saved. For the butler, the truth didn’t matter. He could just portray his master as a man living in debauchery, so that no one would ever blame him for this! The appearances were against him. He had indeed organized parties, but they were no longer sex orgies.
The most infuriating is that the butler was to blame for this “relapse”. He had made sure that the painter and his lord would no longer be together. Since he had no sex, then he could only offer wine and food. But there’s another point why I don’t believe that Yoon Seungho ever consumed opium. Since this drug was illegal in Joseon, the butler would have to dirty his own hands to buy such a thing. Besides, notice that the nobles brought the drug themselves. (Chapter 52) This shows that the aristocrats had to buy the opium themselves. This was too dangerous to give this task to a domestic, the latter could definitely betray them. So when Black Heart said that the main lead was smoking opium, his true goal was to ruin the main lead’s reputation. And for Kim, it was perfect. He needed his master to have a bad reputation so that he could live his life peacefully.
4. The connection between sex and drugs
In my opinion, Min’s addictions are his karma. He had to pay a huge price for plotting in order to obtain the painter. He became more and more addicted to the wine, and later to the opium, when he thought that his plan had succeeded. In other words, his opium’s addiction is the divine retribution for hurting the shaman. The irony is that his obsession for Baek Na-Kyum never disappeared. In other words, since he couldn’t have sex with the painter, he replaced sex with drugs. That’s how I realized the following connection. Baek Na-Kyum, Jihwa and Black Heart used drugs to cover up the absence of sex and indirectly love. For me, they somehow symbolize a subterfuge, to mask the absence of passion.
Notice that the artist’s libido is strongly intertwined with the paintings, so the moment he could no longer paint, he was forced to become chaste. Hence he started drinking. (chapter 75) This strong connection between sex and drugs gets even confirmed in the same episode. Notice that in that scene, Yoon Seungho had not sex with the painter for a while, and Baek Na-Kyum was definitely missing it. Naturally, his true desire was to get loved by his companion. For the low-born, sex is a symbol of love. Hence he drunk because of Yoon Seungho. (chapter 75) He felt the need to fill the void. But I believe that the incident with Nameless was a wake-up call for the artist. Through the hug and the music box, he realized that the lord’s affection had not diminished at all. And now, you comprehend why the painter is no longer addicted to the wine. He no longer feels awful and fears abandonment…
As for Jihwa, he drank, when he was happy, for he imagined that he would get his friend’s attention again, or when he was sad, for he had been repudiated. Once he got abandoned, he could no longer have sex… (chapter 36) and he drowned his sorrow in wine. (chapter 59) However, this association between alcohol and his lust for Yoon Seungho started changing, after Jihwa had sex with Nameless. Notice that in episode 83, he is no longer looking like a wreck. (chapter 83) He is still biting his nails, a sign of remorse and fears, but he is no longer obsessed with Yoon Seungho. From my point of view, the torments the second lead suffered in the second season played a huge role. He started drinking alcohol for another reason. (chapter 50) This time, he got afraid of the consequences for the murder. As you can perceive it, there was a slight shifting. This shows that the wine became less and less connected to his obsession with his childhood friend, his desire to have him. This explicates why he was so devastated at the end of the second season. Out of guilt and anxiety, he started drinking again. (chapter 76)
And now, we have to wonder why Lee Jihwa doesn’t seem plagued like in the past. (chapter 83)It is because his father got involved again, and visited father Yoon. The second lead imagines that after his father’s intervention, his problems will be solved. He won’t have to fear for his life, for Yoon Seungho will be sent away to his father. (chapter 82) He knows about his father’s plan. If Yoon Seungho is forced to submit himself to his father, he won’t be able to use his wealth and power to attack him. That’s the reason why he is no longer looking like a wreck. In other words, he is well aware what is going to happen to his friend. He witnessed the abuse, but he doesn’t care, for his “life is in danger”. 🙄 As for Min, he looks more healthy again (chapter 83), for he had to plot in order to achieve his goal. He needed to find a new puppet, lord Lee, and as such he needed to make a good impression. He had to become proactive and become more directly involved. Hence he needed to be more alert.
As for Yoon Seungho’s addiction, it becomes obvious why Yoon Seungho smoked in the past. It was not related to sex, but to his inner turmoil. He had to calm down his frustration and negative emotions. Notice that only he smoked during the day, a sign that this was not connected to sex at all. However, it started changing too. Yoon Seungho felt the need to smoke while having sex with the painter (chapter 45), for he felt something was missing. Consequently, this is not surprising why Yoon Seungho had a sex marathon in the shed after smoking the whole day. It was to contain his rage, but also to mask his strong desire for the painter. What caught my attention is that after their love session, the main lead started smoking again, exactly like in the past. (Chapter 74)However, there is a huge difference. In my opinion, he was trying to control his sexual desires. Remember the quote above: nicotine has a huge effect on libido. That’s another reason why Yoon Seungho was so chaste in the study: (chapter 74)
However, what caught my attention is that during the third season, we never see Yoon Seungho smoking. Though he hurt the painter and felt terrible, he decided to leave the mansion in order to hunt. He wanted to vent his anger and hide his anxieties: (chapter 83) This observation is important, for it shows that he is no longer using tobacco to hide his inner turmoil. That’s why I believe that Yoon Seungho’s addiction was originally linked to his traumas. It was his way to “anesthetize his emotions”, he had the impression that he would become more clear-sighted.
5. Personality and drugs
I have to admit that when I started preparing this analysis, I tried to discover why Min, who is a psychopath, would come to consume drugs. That’s how I discovered that personality indeed plays a huge role.
The Five-Factor Model of Personality
The Five-Factor Model of Personality is a group of five broad trait aspects that help explain personality differences and people’s behavior. The five traits include:
Extraversion- is when someone enjoys being around other people more than being alone.
Neuroticism- is the tendency to be in a negative, stressed, or anxious emotional state.
Agreeableness- is a set of characteristics perceived by others as being sympathetic, warm, kind, and considerate.
Conscientiousness- is being careful or diligent, hoping to do a job or task successfully, and to take obligations seriously. Conscientious people tend to be organized and efficient.
Openness to Experience- indicates how open-minded a person is, and is characterized by being imaginative and curious, and enjoyment in trying new things.
Generally, those who use drugs or alcohol are characterized by having high Neuroticism, high Openness to Experience, low Agreeableness, and low Conscientiousness.quoted from https://www.fortbehavioral.com/addiction-recovery-blog/personality-traits-related-to-drug-use/
After reading this quote, you can recognize that Black Heart has a predisposition for addiction. He fits the following profile: “high Neuroticism, high Openness to Experience, low Agreeableness, and low Conscientiousness”. He loves experiencing new things (chapter 52), he is always seeking entertainment (chapter 66), a sign that he is not hardworking. He is very sensitive to criticisms, which was underlined in chapter 83 one more time. (chapter 83) Therefore I tried to find out if persons suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder could be suffering emotionally, though they are supposed not to feel any pain and empathy. And yes, such persons are definitely not happy, for they are often lonely.
“psychopaths may be unhappy due to the quality of their interpersonal relationships. Romantic relationships and friendships are critical to happiness. […] The results from our studies suggest that people with high levels of psychopathic tendencies are generally unhappy. They show low levels of positive emotions and life satisfaction, and high levels of negative emotions and depression. Further, this unhappiness is partially explained by the poor quality of their romantic relationships. ” quoted from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-happiness-doctor/201701/are-psychopaths-happy
This explicates why Min was so obsessed with Baek Na-Kyum. (chapter 9) He felt lonely, and hoped that the artist would give him the same gaze, when he looked at the protagonist. He had already snatched Lee Jihwa, but the latter was too obsessed with his childhood friend to look at him in a different way. Min was definitely longing for love, but he could never admit it. Striking is that Min picked his “bride”, exactly like the psychologist Love described it:
“For instance, Love notes that individuals high on the psychopathy spectrum prefer friends who contribute to their volatile lifestyles, such as criminals, fellow thrill-seekers, or ego-feeding suck-ups. Teaching psychopaths how to form healthier, more positive, interpersonal relationships with emotionally stable individuals, however, may help to reduce their antisocial behaviors.” quoted from https://qz.com/819283/can-people-who-have-psychopathic-symptoms-feel-love-or-be-truly-happy/
And now, you comprehend why Min was dissatisfied with Lee Jihwa in the end. The latter was a delinquent, a selfish man who desired Yoon Seungho’s constant attention. He could never give him the attention and love Black Heart was longing. (chapter 66) Hence he could only view the second lead as his puppet. That’s why The Joker had to use “drugs” to mask his emptiness and longing for affection.
On the other hand, the Five-Factor Model of Personality explicates why Yoon Seungho never fell into debauchery so deeply. First, he didn’t have many addictions despite suffering for a decade. His tumultuous sex life was influenced by the brainwashing and his traumatic past. In my opinion, the principles from Taoism were another reason why the protagonist never became a drunk or desired to smoke opium. Then he reads books, but no one knows this except the butler. Finally, he definitely worked hard, for he could gather wealth and create connections. From my point of view, the enemies are definitely underestimating his power.
As a conclusion, when in chapter 52 we had this cold war between Black Heart and Yoon Seungho, we didn’t assist to a sex party, but to a drug party: tobacco, opium and wine. There was no sex at all!! Hence Yoon Seungho had no erection… however, they attempted to turn this into a sex orgy (chapter 54), but fortunately they failed. Thus when I look again at this sex orgy (chapter 8), I can only view this as quite harmless: this party reflected the main lead’s purity. He is definitely no hell-raiser!! The real one is Black Heart, but father Lee has not realized it yet, for he believes in reputation and rumors. Since Min was able to keep his name intact, the lord Lee trusted in the noble’s integrity. He never discovered that his son was under the influence of a vicious and perverted man. I would say now, Jihwa is supporting a murderer. (chapter 83)
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 Reddit-Instagram-Tumblr-Twitter account is: @bebebisous33. Thanks for reading and for the support, particularly, I would like to thank all the new followers and people recommending my blog.