Shakespeare's Sonnets

How does Shakespeare deviate from the Elizabethan Love tradition in Sonnet no 130?

sonnet 130

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The sonnet is generally considered a humorous parody of the typical Elizabethan love sonnet. Petrarch, for example, addressed many of his most famous sonnets to an idealized woman named Laura, whose beauty he often likened to that of a goddess. In stark contrast Shakespeare makes no attempt at deification of the dark lady; in fact he shuns it outright, as we see in lines 11-12: "I grant I never saw a goddess go; / My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground." Here the poet explicitly states that his mistress is not a goddess.