The National Science Foundation’s Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) will revolutionize our ability to measure, understand, and model the basic physical processes that control the structure and dynamics of the Sun and its atmosphere. The first-light DKIST images, released publicly on 29 January 2020, only hint at the extraordinary capabilities that will accompany full commissioning of the five facility instruments. With this Critical Science Plan (CSP) we attempt to anticipate some of what those capabilities will enable, providing a snapshot of some of the scientific pursuits that the DKIST hopes to engage as start-of-operations nears. The work builds on the combined contributions of the DKIST Science Working Group (SWG) and CSP Community members, who generously shared their experiences, plans, knowledge, and dreams. Discussion is primarily focused on those issues to which DKIST will uniquely contribute. © 2021, The Author(s).