Sexual politics is written all over the text. And there is also, and relatedly, a sense that the text is reaching for something which cannot be said, yet which we cannot bring ourselves to pass over in silence - a little like the fourth guest who never appears. The literary figures of speech, the tropes in the text, are especially disconcerting in the passages, halfway through the dialogue, concerning something called khora (spelled: chi, omega, rho, alpha), which means - roughly - space or place. The Greek word has femine gender, and this is played up to the hilt - very off-puttingly, it must be said, for those of us who are tired of sexist stereotypes of Woman. Khora is the womb within which the ideal forms or essences are to be imprinted, when the visible world is created under the guidance of an intelligible plan. Being the receptacle for all essences, khora can have no essence of her own; but for Plato that means that the word "khora" can be given no definition - so no wonder Timaeus finds it difficult to talk about her! As Derrida says of the khora, "the question of essence no longer has any meaning with regard to it. Not having an essence, how could the khora be [se tiendrait-elle] beyond its name?" (Derrida, 1995, p.94) Khora is, as it were, concealed behind a veil of femine mystique. And yet, although she lacks any essence or form, khora is incapable of embodying the ideal forms without distortion - and indeed she is not always completely passive as she receives the forms. Shortcomings in the world which comes into being are to be traced not to flaws in the (masculine) plan, but to deficiencies in the (feminine) khora within which this plan must be executed.

Related to same "to eat?"