A quote by Dr. Johnson goes
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man."
The phrase "make a beast of himself" appears to have the definition of "to behave like a beast", in the same way as how "make a ... of himself" would function in the idiom "make a fool of himself".
Here is my question: is it appropriate to use the expression "make a ... of himself" be used in all cases to mean "to behave like a ..."? (e.g. He makes a coward of himself.)