What does the title "The Tell-Tale Heart" mean?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The title "A Tell-Tale Heart" refers to the constant sound of the heart beat that the narrator hears after he has murdered the old man.  The heart beat basically comes from the narrator's guilt-ridden conscience and leads him to turn himself in.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The resolution of the narrative occurs when the narrator, prompted by the incessant sound of a beating heart, can no longer contain his ever-increasing sense of guilt. The title signifies that guilt; the beating heart is a metaphor for the guilt.  Enotes has an excellent explanation of the entire short story,

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial