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As the illustration of this analysis is indicating it, the title of the essay is referring to the painter’s departure from the mansion in season 3. For you can anticipate it, I would like to expose my new discoveries before the release of chapter 103. Why? It is because that way, the readers can perceive the new chapter under a different perspective.
1. “All the World’s a Stage”
Since I recognized the importance of clothes in Painter Of The Night, I started paying more attention to the appearances. Striking is that in season 3, the schemers utilized hanboks and shirts to forge an identity. By wearing a yellow hanbok, Min attempted to impersonate Lee Jihwa (chapter 101) so that he could put the blame on his “friend”. But the problem is that he was caught red-handed. Hence he ended up executed. On the other side, the corpse in the well was supposed to be Deok-Jae (chapter 98), although he was wearing clothes similar to the learned sir’s. What caught my attention is the expression Yoon Seungho employed: “pretending”. With such an idiom, he was implying that the servant had not only violated social norms, but also he had been acting. As you can sense, these two situations have one common denominator: playing a role and the clothes served as a disguise. It was, as if both victims of a murder had been playing in a theater play. This explicates why in the fanart, the author is portraying Baek Na-Kyum and Yoon Seungho as actors who are working in a sageuk. And this made me think of the famous poem from Shakespeare who describes life as a stage, where a person plays different roles all along his life: an infant, a school boy, a lover, a soldier, etc., until he dies, which is symbolized by an eternal sleep. https://youtu.be/_jaSFtcDEiE
Then I would like to point out that at no moment, the main lead saw the body himself. He was simply confronted with the clothes which resembled a lot to the scholar’s. (chapter 98) Why? From my point of view, they were trying to scare the main lead, to remind him that he could never replace Jung In-Hun in the painter’s heart, to shake his belief. But the problem is that the schemers had missed the right timing, for the artist had already confessed his love for Yoon Seungho and this twice. Therefore the latter couldn’t doubt his lover’s words, and mistake it for an illusion. As a conclusion, the clothes were used tools to trick the couple, they had become costumes!! However, because the author is using karma as poetic justice, this signifies that the hanboks and shirts can serve as a clue to perceive the truth too. The ones who tried to deceive the protagonists with clothes and words, should be fooled by their own manipulations.
2. A new perception of chapter 98
My avid readers will certainly recall the detected principles Byeonduck utilized to develop her story.
- The story is going in circle, it works like a kaleidoscope.
- There is a reflection within the same chapter: the positive and negative reflection.
- Each episode will be reflected in the next chapter.
- All seasons are reflected in each other.
- The painter and Yoon Seungho share the same fate, hence their actions are similar.
- The clothes and shoes are tools to identify a character.
Naturally, you might be wondering how these rules are relevant to the clothes. But note that in episode 98, the lord wondered himself why the hanboks would look so similar to the learned sir’s! (chapter 98) This shows that the lord was able distinguish the real clothes from the imitation. He had not only a good memory, but his eyes were sensitive enough to detect the difference. But how is it about the readers? Did they notice that these maids were different from the head-maid and her colleague? (chapter 94) Their clothes were almost identical, yet their body shapes and the cut of the shirts diverged. That’s the reason why I deduced that in episode 98, the author had the intention to manipulate the manhwaphiles. But in order to escape the trap, the readers needed to look carefully at the characters’ clothes. This was the clue that Byeonduck had left for the readers to discern the truth. And now, look at this: (chapter 98) What was the painter wearing on his way to the bedchamber? White pants with his Mountbatten pink jacket. But how did he show up at the learned sir’s home? (chapter 98) He was dressed differently. 😮 He had changed his pants, put on his scarf and hat. But when he went to the lord’s study, he was not carrying them!! How do we explain the difference? The answer is quite simple. He had returned to his room in order to fetch his clothes. And since Baek Na-Kyum took the lord’s clothes, this signifies that he had the intention to return to the domain. The readers will certainly recall the artist’s behavior, when he had threatened the main lead to leave Yoon Seungho. He had switched his clothes, and put on his old clothes. (chapter 98) Thus if the lord had gone to the study, he would had realized that the painter had not deserted the propriety, for he had not taken his belongings with him. The hat and scarf were signalizing that Baek Na-Kyum considered himself as a member of the Yoons‘ household.
Moreover, because in chapter 98, the artist had tried to hide his presence from the maids at the door of the kitchen (chapter 98), I assume that later he did the opposite (rule 2). He met the maids on purpose. Why? He let them know about his intentions. He was going out in order to visit the learned sir’s home. Finally, remember what he had thought on his way to the mansion. (rule 3) If only Yoon Seungho had left a word… The servants served as his messenger. Hence I am convinced that Baek Na-Kyum must have talked to the maids and told them where he was going!! He copied his lover, yet contrary to him, he must have given a precise information. (Rule 5) This means that he had informed the staff about his departure!! Moreover, in chapter 98, the maids acted, as if they had not detected the painter’s presence while badmouthing Yoon Seungho. (chapter 98) Hence they were portrayed without eyes and with a drop of sweat on their face, a sign for deception. So the negative reflection would be that Baek Na-Kyum had informed the maids, and he had gone to the kitchen for that reason. From my point of view, when he met them, he was already wearing his hat and scarf. To sum up, the artist had never left the maids in the dark. And the clothes are the evidence of the staff’s lie.
Under this new perspective, it becomes comprehensible why the painter lost all his clothes during that night!! If the lord had seen them there, he would have realized that the painter had never deserted the mansion, for he would have taken his own clothes!! It was important that they vanished. First, he lost his hat (chapter 99) Then the scarf was no longer present, when the painter woke up. Then the nobles removed his shirt, socks and pants in the shrine. (chapter 100) And now observe that after Lee Jihwa’s departure, the artist’s clothes except the white shirt vanished too. (chapter 102) Where did they go? The readers saw Black Heart leaving the building, but we should question this: WHY? He never went there to fetch lord Shin, since he abandoned him outside. We all imagined that he left the room empty-handed. But it is true? Now, I don‘t think so. He had to get rid of the clothes in order to mislead the main lead!! A new version of chapter 61 and 97! Furthermore, was Min talking to himself, when he said this? (chapter 101) Because the readers could detect the presence of a shadow in episode 102 , I am now envisioning that Min was not alone outside during that night. In fact, someone had misled Black Heart telling him that lord Jihwa had ran away. However, the unconscious lord Shin should have made him think that Lee Jihwa had fought back… Hence he had not fled, rather betrayed them. Moreover, he was not looking at the direction of the entrance and gate. In fact, he was turning his gaze in the direction to the shrine. (Chapter 101) The tree serves as an orientation for the beholder. But why was someone waiting outside? It was to cover up all the traces of his meddling. Baek Na-Kyum was supposed to vanish during that night, and they had planned to employ his pants and shirt to mislead people… even Black Heart. In my opinion, the invisible hand had already envisioned the nobles’ death. To conclude, the clothes proved my previous theory. The staff had staged the desertion by faking ignorance. (chapter 98) They were waiting for his return to fake their anger and search. And now, you comprehend why the servants mentioned the kisaeng in front of Yoon Seungho. It was to stop him from going to the study… to divert his attention. Under this new approach, the artist’s last words get a new meaning. (chapter 102) Since he had informed Yoon Seungho through the maids about his whereabouts, Baek Na-Kyum was expecting that he would come to his side. I would like the manhwalovers to keep in their mind that the artist was not conscious, when he moved to the shaman’s house. So in his mind, he was not far away from the learned sir’s house. Finally, since he had informed the maids, he could anticipate that the lord wouldn’t get mad at him, and wouldn‘t imagine that he had abandoned him (chapter 101) He trusted his lover’s heart in the end. That’s the reason why Black Heart’s superficial promise had no effect on Baek Na-Kyum. The latter truly believed that Yoon Seungho had been informed. But how could they play such a trick on the couple?
2. The director of the stage
Only one person could expect from the painter that he would switch clothes: Kim! (chapter 86) He had witnessed the argument between the couple by hiding behind the door. Thus in chapter 103, Kim will get the shock of his life… and it is the same for the maids. Yoon Seungho is returning with the painter. And the new trailer reveals that when the lord opened the door, adomestic was standing next to a maid. This is an indication of their involvement, though we need to discern the head-maid from the women in chapter 98. That’s the reason why the moment the maid appears, observe her clothes and try to discern her identity. Is this the head-maid or one maid from season 3? The preview displayed the arrival of the doctor.
The author reveals the butler’s surprise and shock. He never expected his entrance. This shows that the valet is just an actor too, he is not a deity, hence he gets fooled too. But why is Kim reacting this way? IT is because he never asked for the doctor’s request. So who sent the doctor? On the other hand, if the maids are involved and they witness the artist’s return, they have every reason to get worried. Their deception (lying by omission) could come to the light, for Baek Na-Kyum had given his lover an important task. He had to investigate why he had taken so much time before joining the artist’s side. By sending the doctor, they can fake their concern and even divert attention from themselves. Suddenly the connection between the maids and the doctor reminded me of episode 33.
3. The maids, Black Heart and the physician
If you read my previous analyses about the physicians, you are aware about my theory. Byeonduck introduced three different doctors, as their clothes and hat diverge. For me, it is the physician from season 1, for he is dressed similarly. (chapter 103) The form of the beard is also similar. But now, I have another evidence that this doctor from season 4 is not the physician from season 2!!! (chapter 63) The shoes are also different! That’s the reason why in the trailer, the beholders are seeing the physician’s shoes!! He doesn’t possess mituri like the other. Moreover, he is wearing a hanbok under his apron , while the other is dressed more like a commoner, a shirt with pants. And note that in chapter 33, we had the following combination: Min’s party, the visit of the doctor, Baek Na-Kyum’s illness, the maids and Yoon Seungho who “ran away” after his mistake. (rule 1 and 4) (chapter 33) And what had Kim done during his examination? He had not only threatened the physician (chapter 33), afterwards he had even badmouthed him, for he had not given the correct diagnosis. (chapter 33) However, here the butler had simply lied to hide his own wrongdoings: his passivity and silence. And note the doctor’s words addressed to the “beholder”: (chapter 103)
He is lying. The drop of sweat is the evidence. First, he has already seen the painter in a terrible state before. But since he is referring to Yoon Seungho, it signifies that he has already seen Yoon Seungho flustered. Why? Because the doctor from chapter 57 only met the young master, when he was a teenager. (chapter 57) The latter was introduced to Yoon Chang-Hyeon through the butler. The protagonist must have had a doctor in the past. Can you imagine a life without a doctor for 13 years? And this assumption was proven correct after the release. But let’s return our attention to the physician from season 4. What caught my attention is the white bag. Why is he wearing it? It is because he is on the verge of vanishing, he plans to run away. But why? From my point of view, he is the one who provided the aphrodisiac and opium to Lee Jihwa. Besides, in season 1, he had already given the “replenishing medicine” to the valet. (chapter 33) (rule 1-2-3) But why would he do such a thing? Simply, because he had been helping Min. He needed the protection of a powerful lord, since Kim had abused his position by threatening him. After seeing the new pictures from chapter 103, I had this sudden revelation. What did Min do after getting beaten by Yoon Seungho? (chapter 54) He certainly didn’t let his wounds untreated. Thus the next morning his face (chapter 56) looked much better. He had no swelling and the redness was already vanishing. From my point of view, he asked for the doctor’s assistance and that’s how the both came to an understanding. But since Min is now dead, the physician could get into trouble, for he helped the lord and now he is dead. But why am I so sure that the physician is about to run away? Look at all these images: (chapter 44) (chapter 44) (chapter 45) (chapter 100) They are all carrying the white bag on their back… and they are about to depart! Kim wished to leave the propriety with his master under the pretense that he was bringing misfortune to the painter. All this proves that the doctor is far from being innocent. Hence he wishes to run away. However, if he does this, this means that he exits the “play”. So he could die. Moreover, how did he know that the lord would return to the mansion with the wounded painter? I can not answer to this question with certainty. However, I would like to point out that since Min talked to someone in the shadow, it is very likely that this person had long planned Black Heart and his friend’s demise. Nonetheless, the schemers had not foreseen two three elements:
- the survival of lord Shin (chapter 102)
- the survival of Baek Na-Kyum, once again…. in season 2, he also almost died (chapter 61) [For more read the essay “No matter what… Baek Na-Kyum must vanish”]
- the absence of Min’s friend who has always been by his side! (chapter 59) Lord Jang had disguised himself as Black Heart’s friend, the hanboks looked very similar. (chapter 99) (chapter 59) The schemers mistook him for the noble with the mole.
They are trying to repeat the same actions from the past, but the schemers are doomed to fail, for they didn’t listen to The Joker’s advice: (chapter 76) And this observation leads me to present the following theory: father Lee is definitely involved in this new trick! The drama has not ended yet. Why? According to my theory, these domestics didn’t belong to Yoon Seungho’s staff (chapter 61), for the colors grey-white off are only seen at the Lee’s. (chapter 9) (chapter 18, Lee Jihwa’s spy) (chapter 41) (chapter 50) (chapter 100) And now compare these servants to the staff from chapter 97: Their colors are all different reflecting that Yoon Seungho has no control over his staff. But what did the staff do in episode 61, when they manipulated the lord by saying that the painter had run away? One of the domestics offered the scarf and headgear to the lord: (chapter 61) Once again the clothes… All these details are exposing the involvement of elder Lee. He had many reasons to have Min and the painter eliminated. However, there is no ambiguity that he is not working on his own. That’s the reason why I am now wondering if “father Lee” or the shadow sent the doctor to Yoon Seungho in order to witness the painter’s death. Note that the doctor from season 1 came and not season 2. And what had the maids said in episode 33? (chapter 33) Yet, the painter survived, hence the doctor has every reason to run away. His complicity could come to light… on the other hand, the moment he leaves Yoon Seungho’s side, he is no longer protected. The reason is simple. He owns a part of the truth, and what the schemers are attempting to do is the exact opposite: burying the truth so that their act is not discovered. And now who participated in this huge “drama”? The list of the suspects is quite long… Father Lee (chapter 82), lord Yoon Chang-Hyeon (chapter 86), the other physician (chapter 74), “lord Song” (chapter 83), the “fake servant” alias the king (for me) (chapter 37) There is no doubt that a tailor was involved, for he had to create similar clothes, the costumes … (chapter 64) All have one common denominator: the BEARD. They are OLD BEARDED MEN!
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