Concept

Feigned madness

Summary
"Feigned madness" is a phrase used in popular culture to describe the assumption of a mental disorder for the purposes of evasion, deceit or the diversion of suspicion. In some cases, feigned madness may be a strategy—in the case of court jesters, an institutionalised one—by which a person acquires a privilege to violate taboos on speaking unpleasant, socially unacceptable, or dangerous truths. Modern examples To avoid responsibility
  • Vincent Gigante, American Mafia don, was seen wandering the streets of Greenwich Village, Manhattan in his bathrobe and slippers, mumbling incoherently to himself, in what he later admitted was an elaborate act.
  • Allegedly, Shūmei Ōkawa, Japanese nationalist, on trial for war crimes after World War II.
  • Garrett Brock Trapnell, a professional thief and confidence man, frequently pretended to be affected by schizophrenia or dissociative identity disorder in order to be sent to mental institutions rather than prison for his crimes.
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