The School for Wives belongs to the mature period of Molière. It was first played on the 26th of December, 1662. It may be seen as the complement of The School for Husbands, which it succeeded at an interval of eighteen months, The Bores intervening. The central situations of the two have much in common: the arbitrary and jealous lover, to whom circumstances have given almost the authority of a husband ; the simple ward, rescued from physical constraint by the unfettered cunning of love, and others.
The comedy was fiercely attacked by several, who accused it of being wanting in good taste, sound morality, rules of grammar, and, what was more dangerous, of undermining the principles of religion. Many other authors critically appraised it. Honoré de Balzac considered it as Molière's masterpiece.
Molière played the role of Arnolde.