I am writing a story with a character who was a prince born albino in a very superstitious country. His Uncle intensely feared killing him, as he believed it would release a demon inside of him. This myth becomes the only thing that saves his life when his kingdom is overthrown as a child. He learned that having people falsely fear him keeps him safer than trying to dispel the rumors.
I need a term for someone who encourages his own awful reputation, so that he can win through fear without having to actually be fearsome. Think of Captain Shakespeare from Stardust as being a good example.
The word in a sentence may be used much like the words illusion or facade. I am not necessarily looking for a noun or an adjective in particular; just a word, or perhaps a short collection of words to explain or describe the concept. Several example sentences include:
"He was known to ____"
"His ____ was falling to pieces".