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Feigned madness a term used in popular culture to describe the assumption of a mental disorder for purposes of evasion or deceit, or to divert suspicion, perhaps in advance of an act of revenge.
Modern examples 
To avoid responsibility 
To examine the system from the inside 
Investigative journalists and psychologists have feigned madness to study psychiatric hospitals from within:
- American muckraker Nellie Bly; see Ten Days in a Mad-House (1887)
- The Rosenhan experiment in the 1970s also provides a comparison of life inside several mental hospitals.
- The Swedish artist Anna Odell created the projec Okänd, kvinna 2009-349701 to examine power structures in healthcare, the society's view of mental illness and the victim hood pushed on the patient.
Historical examples 
- Lucius Junius Brutus, who feigned madness until the time when he was able to drive the people to insurrection— he more faked stupidity than insanity, causing the Tarquins to underestimate him as a threat.
- Alhazen, who was ordered by the sixth Fatimid Caliph, al-Hakim, to regulate the flooding of the Nile; he later perceived the inanity and futility of what he was attempting to do and, fearing for his life, feigned madness to avoid the Caliph's wrath. The Caliph, believing him to be insane, placed him under house arrest rather than execute him for failure. Alhazen remained there until the Caliph's death, thereby escaping punishment for his failure to accomplish a task that had been impossible from the beginning.
- King David, in 1 Samuel 21, feigns insanity to prevent the servants of Achish the king of Gath from recognizing him.
In fiction and mythology 
See also