By counting each second, in the same way a heart beats, it represents a man's life, with each tick bringing it closer to the inevitable death that all human beings face. Talking about his life, the murderer says, “A watch's minute hand moves more quickly than did mine” (Poe 1206). When the narrator first heard the heart beat, he compared it to a watch. “Now I say, there came to my ears a low, dull, quick sound such as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton” (Poe 1207). Secondly, the murderer continues with this symbol of time, “He was still sitting up in the bed listening; – just as I have done, night after night, hearkening to the death watches in the wall” (Poe 1207). In this sense, the “death watch” refers to a small beetle that lives in the wall. During mating season, this beetle bangs its head against the wall in order to attract a mate. Because of its consistency, this sounds almost like a ticking watch to an ordinary person.
The three main symbolic objects were the vulture eye, the beating heart, and the watch. Although the watch had more than one meaning, it still symbolized how the heart ticked its last tick when the narrator murdered him. The eye symbolized the parental force on the narrator. Every time the vulture eye focused on him, it sent chills down his spine. He could not stand the eye, but he loved the old man. He even said that the only motive to kill the old man was the vulture eye. This eye, covered