In Edgar Allan Poe's "A Tell-Tale Heart" what does the eye symbolize?
The eye symbolizes the narrator's fear of death. Though the narrator claims to have no grudge against his roommate, ("He had never given me insult. For his gold I had no desire") he is disturbed to madness by the sight of him.
Poe's skin-crawling descriptions say it all: "One of his eyes resembled that of a vulture—a pale blue eye with a film over it. Whenever it fell upon me my blood ran cold, and so by degrees, very gradually, I made up my mind to take the life of the old man, and thus rid myself of the eye for ever."
Vultures are death-predators, feeding on carcasses. They circle around a dying or wounded animal, waiting for death. The narrator seems to feel that the eye fixes on him like a vulture.
The eye also may symbolize the narrator's fear of aging, period. That same description, "pale blue eye with a film over it" is a very common and accurate description of the eyes of elderly people, who, (to put it not-nicely at all, but after all this *is* Poe!) are coming along in the process of body shutting down.