"Let us also speak of Dickens, who is often undervalued because he hits the eternal verities on the nose. Sure, we cannot help being aware of his in-your-face morality, yet we are moved by it nonetheless, because, tossing sophistication to the wind, we wish to see the just rewarded and the unjust punished. No writer besides Shakespeare has created more memorable characters attached to vices and virtues. In even their least sympathetic characters, one senses a kind of helplessness to passion quivering between the poles of good and evil. Both Miss Havisham and Mrs. Macbeth probably would have preferred to behave themselves."
Roger Rosenblatt, "How to Write Great," Sunday Book Review, New York Times, July 27, 2012 (H/T Enuma Okoro)
I recommend reading the whole article -- it's really good. Also, there's a Tale of Two Cities reference elsewhere in it!