"Mi avrebbero preso per pagliaccio."
Translation:They would have taken me for a clown.
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There's a difference between 'being made a fool of' and 'being thought a fool'...so I disagree. "They would have taken me for a fool." Or 'they would have thought me a fool' would be would be natural -- but these days that's pretty formal -- so I'd go for "They would have thought I was an idiot.." as what a 'regular' phrase might be.
there are a couple ways to write your expression. 'prendere in giro' or 'prendersi gioco'
this sounds like perfectly good english to me. and would be more evocative of the emotional cost expended. there are a billion and a half english speakers in the world and around 800 million are native speakers. you can't possibly know what would sound 'more natural' except for your own limited part of that community.
I don't think that is what this means (it is a natural way of saying something else). The English translation used here by Duolingo is (clearly) a turn of phrase not universally understood even by native speakers. "To take (someone) for (something)" means to think they are that thing.